Social entrepreneurship

Social entrepreneurship, from the project "En u-sving til bedre bolig" ("A u-turn towards better housing"), where SESAM participated in collaborative social innovation to improve the housing conditions for citizens of Larvik municipality.
Social entrepreneurship, from the project "En u-sving til bedre bolig" ("A u-turn towards better housing"), where SESAM participated in collaborative social innovation to improve the housing conditions for citizens of Larvik municipality.

Social entrepreneurship actually covers two things. One is the designation of a phenomenon; a type of activity in the welfare community – the second is the term for a certain form of organized, formal enterprise.


What is social entrepreneurship?

The Norwegian concept of social entrepreneurship actually covers two things. One is the designation of a phenomenon; a type of activity in the welfare community – the second is the term for a certain form of organized, formal enterprise. In many languages there are linguistic distinctions between the two; in English the latter is called social enterprise, while the former is social enterpreneurship. In Danish it is called socioeconomic enterprise, driven by social enterpreneurship.

Social entrepreneurship in Norwegian, as a phenomenon and as an activity, relates to the last stage of innovation, the implementation. Social entrepreneurship ensures new ideas and solutions to social issues, a practical, useful and lasting social value.

Social innovation ensured through organizational model

The social innovation ensures lasting value through an organizational model, which is called social enterprise. In order to avoid reoccurring gift collecting or extraordinary project contributions, the enterprise develops an economic model which shows sustainability over time.

The entrepreneurial economic model can build on different revenues: the sale of goods or services, the inclusion of individuals in the labour market, or through another kind of effort contribute to (groups of) people no longer being in need of assistance or contributions from the government, or at least in a lesser degree.

The economic model is always a means of achieving social value. Therefore, the enterprise doesn't have two equal bottom lines, as it is often wrongly argued. A truer picture would be to say that the enterprise has one "top line": a defined social value which it aspires to reach. All other activitity is carried out to strengthen the attainment of this value.

Ensuring new social value

Social entrepreneurship ensures new social value by introducing and implementing new solutions to identified social issues. People with their own personal experiences have an independent position, being a resource of knowledge, and a producer or co-producer in the enterprise. Also, the work is organized in such a way that it achieves lasting value and a robust existence without reliance on gifts, alms or reoccurring extraordinary contributions to manage the daily operations of the enterprise.

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