We are often asked this question, and the answer we usually give is a business created to do good in the world, to effect positive change, to solve a social problem and serve a social purpose. Others often think of it as a hybrid organization, a “business with a nonprofit soul.”
As the Social Enterprise Alliance so aptly puts it, “The common good is its primary purpose, literally ‘baked into’ the organization’s DNA, and trumping all others.” .Love that.
Recently we saw a definition that really resonates: social enterprises work to build a more balanced, sustainable world by applying market-based strategies to today’s social problems.
Well, that definitely sums it up better than we usually do, so much so that we put it on the back of our business cards.
So how is Prosperity Candle a social enterprise? We seek to create opportunities for women survivors of conflict and disaster to earn above a living wage. Our idea is that to survive is not enough. We want to help women in some of the most difficult circumstances thrive. It’s a big word – thrive. And we’re working hard to measure up to it. But this is our goal, our passion and purpose. It is the problem we are trying to help solve. Prosperity Candle exists solely to realize this mission.
We know we have years of hard work ahead of us, but that is what we all signed up for. To make a difference and have a sustainable impact. To work for the common good, like so many others in both the public and private sectors. It is what we choose to do with our lives. That, we think, is what social enterprise is all about.
If you’d like to hear more, here is founding partner Siiri Morley talking about the importance of fair trade and moving beyond survival – to the idea of thriving.