What is a Social Enterprise?

What is a Social Enterprise?

At The Inspiring Enterprise our mission is to empower entrepreneurs who are committed to creating solutions for social or environmental issues. We exist to provide support, resources, and funding to people making a difference in the world.

Entrepreneurs that tackle social or environmental issues create what are called social enterprises. But what constitutes a social enterprise?

Defining Social Enterprise

At The Inspiring Enterprise we define a social enterprise as a corporation that is started by someone who first identifies a social or environmental issue in their community or society and then works to create an innovative solution to that problem.

A social or environmental issue is a problem that impacts a community of people or the environment in a negative manner. Some examples include water affordability and availability in our drought-stricken state, healthy food access for elementary school children, financial aid for education, and affordable housing.

Solving Tough Issues

Here in Santa Cruz, a number of corporations are working to solve various issues that impact our community. The following are some examples of local issues and the social enterprises that are working to solve them:

The Problem: Citizens are disenchanted and disconnected to their political leaders, resulting in a 10% participation rate for voters aged 18-24.

Civinomics – An online platform that engages citizens in political participation and allows government officials to measure and easily obtain crowd-sourced public input, allowing young voters to easily give their voice and participate in local politics.

The Problem: A Digital Divide is the gap between those who have access to computers and the technical skills needed to use them and those who do not.

Digital NEST – A communal space that provides young adults access to computers, software, Wi-Fi, and other digital tools and classes, bridging the gap of the Digital Divide.

The Problem: Disabled adults are twice as likely to be unemployed and they require specific needs in a workplace. Additionally, California is in a drought, therefore water for farming is expensive.

Green Water Garden – A Santa Cruz farm that employs disabled adults, provides micro greens to local restaurants, and saves water using an aquaponics system.

We believe business and innovation can solve some of our toughest social and environmental dilemmas and are looking for people with scalable and innovative solutions to these issues.  If that’s you, apply now for Cruz Cares: A Pitch Contest for Social Change.

Deadline to apply for Cruz Cares is February 23rd, less than two weeks away! Apply Here!

Written by Janneke J. Lang

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