Year: 2021


Social economy, sustainable economy, social enterprise, social impact


Businesses across the globe play an increasing role in contributing to — and solving — some of the most complex problems of our time. Many are making ambitious commitments to make the world fairer, more inclusive, and environmentally sustainable, and are integrating these goals into their decision-making and business operations. One highly effective but underutilized strategy to fulfill these commitments is to source from social enterprises (SEs) that are solving significant business problems while also creating positive environmental and social impact. The benefits to businesses beyond contributing to sustainability agendas include innovative products, services, and business models, access to new markets and new customers, and more resilient supply chains, as well as brand building and the ability to attract new employees. However, there is surprisingly little information about these types of corporate and social enterprise business relationships. Do social enterprises have the ability to sell to corporations? If so, in what industries and geographies is this taking place? Are SEs effective in helping corporations meet their business as well as social impact goals, and how is this demonstrated? What are the challenges SEs face when selling to corporate customers and how are these challenges being addressed?