Social Enterprise – It’s Good for Business

Jane Cowan-Harris

Head of WorkSpace IQ
www.workspaceiq.co.nz

You may be aware that Christchurch recently hosted the Social Enterprise World Forum 2017.

A hugely successful event held across five different venues, it attracted over 1,600 participants – 47 percent of whom were from overseas – and was the biggest conference held in Christchurch post-quakes.

Congratulations are owed to Akina Foundation, who organised and ran the forum. At WorkSpace IQ we appreciate the positive impact on workplace wellbeing that social enterprise and social responsibility has, and actively encourage organisations to get staff involved in some kind of voluntary work as part of their workplace wellness maintenance programme, so I was of course interested in finding out more.

Social enterprise in action 

Social enterprise is all about working with people and the community, with organisations having a focus on the benefits to people and the environment rather than just the end financial result.

It has been evolving as a recognised business model in New Zealand over the last 40 years, starting with businesses such as Trade Aid, which supports struggling farmers and artisans in developing countries around the world to gain access to our markets.

The Social Enterprise World Forum also gave participants the opportunity to network with others, share ideas, hear about successes in the social enterprise field in New Zealand and around the world, and be inspired.

What can you do to make a difference?

So what does this mean for your organisation? Would social enterprise even fit your business model and how can you get involved?

Well, there are many things you can do to start thinking with a ‘social enterprise’ hat on and you can start small. For example, you could:

  • Offer work opportunities to someone who has difficulty maintaining full time work due to health issues, or health of a family member. Being flexible in work options and place of work, can make a huge difference
  • Offer flexible hours
  • Make sure that you and your organisation help out in a voluntary capacity to support other businesses and people
  • Encourage people to bike to work by providing bike racks and if practical, provide showers and changing rooms
  • Implement a corporate responsibility charter for your organisation.

As you can see, steps towards social responsibility and social enterprise need not be huge. Every little change makes a difference and starts to have a bigger impact on our environment.

Author: magazinestoday

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