In continuation of our series on giving Back Through Business, I’d like to talk today about the meaning of social enterprise. A social enterprise in terms of business can be categorized as for profit or nonprofit. An article by the Stanford Social Innovation Review pointed out how social enterprises are becoming more popular because they combine the charitable aspects of nonprofits with the revenue generation of for profit businesses.
Companies that are social enterprises are sometimes registered as B-corps, which are “for-profit companies that are certified by the nonprofit B-Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.” According to bcorporation.net there are more than 2,100 Certified B Corps from 50 countries in over 130 different industries.
I recently got to see first hand how this business model could be implemented in my local Tampa area at Inside the Box Café & Catering. ITB is a social enterprise of Metropolitan Ministries. At the South Tampa Chamber of Commerce I got to hear Chely Figueroa talk in detail about what ITB does. ITB provides culinary training to those in the Tampa community transitioning from poverty and homelessness. Proceeds from ITB food sales go directly to feeding the hungry and helping the participants in the program improve their lives. ITB has a vested interest in giving and the results are clear; it works. I liked the story of Inside the Box so much that I scheduled a tour of the facilities for later in September. Stay tuned for updates and check out ITB for yourself.
If you’d like to learn more about social enterprises visit socialenterprise.us to read about a movement of over 1,000 social entrepreneurs that span 16 chapters across the United States.