I’m glad that people are now waking up to the fact that social enterprises need to be regulated and that they are PROFIT MAKING. The first social enterprises may have started with true good intentions and aim to generate revenue just to sustain the livelihood of the people they are helping. Now, however, the term seems to be just thrown around and used extremely loosely. Some social enterprises charge exorbitant prices for things that are not better quality or service that is not necessarily of higher standards. Now, if they came out and said they were a charity and its really a donation that we’re making, fine. But if they are turning a profit which eventually goes to the person who started the business, then wouldn’t there be serious risk of the at-risk groups employed by the social enterprises being exploited by their employer who continues to look like the great philanthropist? Now what I am saying is potentially controversial because social enterprise is the buzzword right now, as if anything associated with it is right and good. When I said I was toying with the idea of starting a preschool with inclusive practices, one of my masters in education classmate immediately said “how about making it a social enterprise”. But why does one need a social enterprise label apart from for marketing purpose to make others more inclined to transact with the business? Can’t my school just hire indiscriminately and treat them properly without going out and shouting that “we’re a social enterprise”?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that all social enterprises are frauds, or even that a majority of them are. I’m just saying it strikes me as a door wide open for exploitation at the moment, and I’m glad that people are waking up to it. Apart from calling for regulation and depending on the regulators, though, we as consumers need also be discerning.