The Fallacy of Social Enterprise? October 13, 2008 by admin Can anyone show me a business that is NOT ‘social’? One that pays no-ones wages; that provides no-one with identity and respect? That meets no customer needs? That creates nothing that is valued by anyone? One that does nothing socially useful with any of its profits? It is nothing to do with legal structures, where profits go or being part of a ‘social enterprise movement’. It is part of being a human being and being enterprising. How many billions was it that Gates popped into the Gates foundation? Rowntree, Kauffman, Carnegie, Ziff, Ford, Getty, Mellon, Packard, Wellcome, Sage… There is just ‘good’ business – ‘bad’ business and an awful lot of stuff somewhere in between. Some businesses, and the social entrepreneurs behind them (can you show me an entrepreneur who is not ‘social’?) start out ‘bad’ unsustainable, polluting, exploitative etc and become ‘good’. Some that start out ‘good’ get trapped in never ending battles for survival and become little more than ‘miserable grant writers’. And there is a whole lot of subjectivity in making the distinctions between good business and bad business. There are lots of us who have set up ‘for profit’ businesses as the simplest and easiest way to drive forward our social missions – which we hold just as passionately as our ‘social enterprise/not for profit distribution’ colleagues. Once we start to recognise that ENTERPRISE is a tremendous driving force for innovation and change; good and bad; not only in the the economy but also in societal and global development, and stop pretending that only officially sanctioned, card carrying members of the ‘social enterprise movement’ have a monopoly on ‘good’ we might start to get some traction on developing enterprise as a tool for progress.