What is a Social Enterprise


Social Enterprise Definition

Social enterprises are businesses that trade to intentionally tackle social problems, improve communities, provide people access to employment and training, or help the environment.


Using the power of the marketplace to solve the most pressing societal problems, social enterprises are commercially viable businesses existing to benefit the public and the community, rather than shareholders and owners.

In the Australian context, there is no legal structure called social enterprise but we define social enterprise as organisations that:

  • Are driven by a public or community cause, be it social, environmental, cultural or economic
  • Derive most of their income from trade, not donations or grants
  • Use the majority (at least 50%) of their profits to work towards their social mission

Australian Social Enterprise Facts