Social Enterprise: What the U.S. and European Experience Can Teach Us—And Where to Now?
Non Profit Quarterly
Janelle A. Kerlin, July 2018
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Use of the term social enterprise has been growing in popularity since the mid-1980s, though the activity itself has long been in existence. Generally defined as any market-based activity to address a social issue, social enterprise has by some accounts become a global movement to sustain socially beneficial activities largely by means other than traditional government and philanthropic resources.1 Though the value added from undertaking social enterprise can be emphasized differently depending on geographic context, social enterprise generally speaks to increasing the self-sufficiency, long-term sustainability, programmatic autonomy, and beneficiary empowerment of organizations involved in pursuing a social mission.