In a recession stricken community, social enterprises are growing more than SMEs (Small and medium-sized enterprises), that’s according to the State of Social Enterprise survey 2011. The report found out that the social enterprise sector is out-pacing and out-innovating SMEs in the recession. This is surely something the printing industry should look into.
A social enterprise, according to Social Enterprise UK, is “a business that trades for a social and/or environmental purpose. ..it will know what difference it is trying to make, who it aims to help, and how it plans to do it.”
On the Fightback Britain Report which used the report from the State of the Social Enterprise survey 2011, it found out that 58% of social enterprises grew during the past year compared to the 28% growth of SMEs. Additionally, social enterprises are surpassing SMEs in business confidence in a growth rate of 57% to 41%, respectively; and 55% to 47% in innovation.
Among the social enterprises today belong to the printing industry, says Lucy Findlay, managing director of the Social Enterprise Mark Company. In fact, 10 of the companies that hold the mark are in print. However, many social print enterprises say that becoming a social enterprise is not at all smooth sailing. The Fightback Britain report said that 40% of social enterprises said that they were weighed down by availability of funding. Aside from finances, social enterprises have to also balance their practices—from effectively meeting financial pressures to managing the social facet of the organization.
But despite the drawbacks, there are still benefits to being a social enterprise which includes increased customer base, boosted company profile, a positive recession-proofing mechanism. Printweek highlighted 5 reasons to be a social enterprise:
- Demand from the public
- Demand from businesses
- Staff motivation and retention
- Availability of finance