Social Enterprise… What’s Happening


Since November 2009, the government of Nova Scotia (NS) has been facilitating a Social Enterprise Working Group comprised of federal and provincial civil servants and other professionals from various organizations across the province. By early 2011, the Working Group produced a discussion paper that explores social enterprise as a concept. The discussion paper refers to social enterprise as “businesses or organizations operated for the purpose of tackling social, economic or environmental challenges”. There is no agreement on what constitutes a social enterprise- different groups have different definitions based on specific objectives. The choice of the working group is influenced by the need to be inclusive.

Social Enterprise Inventory
Among other recommendations, the discussion paper proposes a descriptive research initiative that contributes to the creation of an inventory and awareness about social enterprise in NS. The goal is to provide government with a clearer picture of the status of social enterprises across the province. Key among the expected outputs are:- the quantity of social enterprises
– their key characteristics
– their distribution across urban and rural areas
– their main activities
– an analysis of their profitability and contribution to society
– their interests/ plans over the coming 5 years
A list of known social enterprises, enterprising nonprofits, microenterprises and social purpose businesses will be developed. Any social enterprise that is included in the sample must meet the dual criteria of (1) being a business venture that sells goods and services, and (2) that does so primarily in order to meet its social, cultural and/or environmental mission. Social purpose businesses meet the above criteria as incorporated for profit organizations.

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