Defining Social Entrepreneurship

Social entrepreneurship has come under scrutiny by the Financial Times. They define it as a "halfway house between profits-driven businesses and charities". The FT considers Tim Smit, founder of the Eden Project to be one of the UK's best-known (and most successful) social entrepreneurs. The Eden Project was set up in Cornwall, England's poorest county, and after five years, 6 million visitors are expected. Others include Jamie Oliver, who created the chain of restaurants called Fifteen and John Bird, founder of The Big Issue. People Tree clothing has also been noted. Social enterprises typically "weave doing good into the warp and weft of their trading activity". The Eden Project includes a very strong ecological message into its family outing concept. Fifteen restaurants, located in London and newly opened in Cornwall, train drop-out school kids to become chefs in restaurants appealing to an up-market crowd. The Big Issue is a credible magazine that provides employment to its homeless vendors. According to government statistics, there are more than 55,000 social enterprises in the UK with a turnover of more than £27Bn per year. According to the FT, "the growth of social enterprise reflects broader interests in ethical business models. It can take the profit motive to parts of the voluntary and public sector that have in the past been hostile to it. :: Financial Times