for social entrepreneurship

What is a social business?


What is a social business?

Opinions differ on the definition of a social business and of social innovation. However, there are a number of clear characteristics that distinguish them from mainstream businesses.

A social business has two main characteristics

1. Mission-driven: The main goal is to generate social value or impact by tackling a societal problem and/or meeting a societal need

2. Market-oriented: It pursues its goals in an entrepreneurial manner, generating its own income to meet its needs

In a social business, social and economic values are integrated. In an integrated business model, each part of the model will generate impact and help with the achievement of the mission, because all income contributes directly to more social impact.

Social entrepreneurs innovate at various different levels: with their business model, their range of products and services, their organisational model and/or the way in which they work together. In Belgium they are found in many different sectors, including housing, nutrition, energy, the integration of disadvantaged people and the environment.


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