Social Business

Distribusi features articles and observations on ‘social business’.

In the field of political economy, people are actively exploring ideas like ‘localism’ as a way of empowering local communities to establish local enterprises to create opportunity and cut down on ‘food miles’ (or even ‘fashion miles’).

Practically, people are creatively looking back to co-operative and mutual forms of enterprise; these can be attractive to a range of groups who would not usually agree – from conservatives (in the older sense of the word) to syndicalists and ‘agrarian socialists’.

Social Business – a definition

It’s hard to find a binding definition for social enterprise and business. However, social enterprises or social businesses are driven by social purpose, and are most often typified by:

  • entrepreneurial trading activity;
  • a sustainable (generally financial self-sufficiency) business model;
  • non-distribution (or limited distribution) to individuals;
  • surpluses reinvested in the business;
  • constituents democratic involvement and often member ownership; and,
  • accountability to the community that the business serves.

This definition is drawn from Pearce and Barrakat in the 2006 paper, ‘Community and Social Enterprise: What Role for Government?’ for the Department for Victorian Communities.

You can find the EU definition here.

The generally accepted Australian definition can be found here.


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