There are several ways you can go-about inquiring for social enterprise business ideas. Creating a social business has much resemblance to developing a traditional business, but motivation is usually drawn from a different place. Social enterprise ideas, unlike ordinary business ideas, typically result from a desire to solve a social need; similar to how many non-profit and charity organizations find their beginning.

Charity:Water wristbands
photo credit: Silicon Prairie News / Flickr

Traditional business ideas can also come from distinguishing a social need. But, the difference between a social enterprise idea and a traditional business idea is the inspiration of the entrepreneur. The primary inspiration for a traditional entrepreneur is more-often-than-not a desire to make money; a social entrepreneur is driven more by a passion to solve a social problem, and only chooses to use business as a mechanism to solve these problems. Robert Klayman is one such personality who offer advice on social enterprises business ideas.

Because of the differential inspirations that accelerate the two types of entrepreneurs, it must be considered that their businesses will operate a bit differently. It is often heard that the business world talk about focusing on the bottom line business practices that lead to rise in monetary profitability. In comparison, social businesses focus on double – or triple – bottom line business practices that lead to social, environmental and economic profitability.

Profitable social Enterprise business ideas

Growing money trees

Some of the most common ideas for Social Enterprises to create double and triple bottom line profit are as follow (summarized from The Sedge):

Cross-Compensation

Here’s how it works: One group of customers pays for the service. Profits from this group are used to subsidize the service for another, underserved group.

Examples:

  • Used textbooks for social change
  • Efficient wood stoves for developing world
  • Innovative information product
  • Water for everyone
  • Micro-giving for easy philanthropy

Service Fee

Just like the typical for-profit setting, the beneficiaries pay directly for the good or services provided by the social enterprise.

Examples:

  • Social supermarket
  • Sustainable water
  • Micro power generation
  • Education books on a social topic
  • Ultra-modern technology to attract economic development
  • Exercise equipment for social outreach
  • Educational travel company

Skills training and Employment

The social enterprises provide living wages, skills development, and job training to the beneficiaries: the employees, which skills can then be utilized for improving their economy independently.

Examples:

  • Baking/cooking for a social cause
  • A virtual factory of computer workers
  • Social products and employment for the underserved
Local produce
photo credit: USDA /Flickrr

Market Channel

The social enterprise acts as an intermediary, channel, or distributor, to a larger market. The beneficiaries are the suppliers of the products or services that are being distributed to the global market, with the help of the social enterprise.

Examples:

  • A marketplace for social good
  • Socially conscious consumer electronics

Market Connector

The social enterprises act as the facilitators, nurturing trade relationships between beneficiaries and new markets.

Examples:

  • Online socially conscious marketplace
  • Micro lending
  • Social crowd funding

Independent Platform

The social enterprise delivers products or services to an external market that is separate from the beneficiary and social impact generated. Funds are then used to support social programs to the beneficiary.

Examples:

  • Beauty products to support a social mission
  • Food for philanthropy

Cooperative and Interdependent

A social enterprise that is owned by its members who also use its services, providing a vast array of goods or services.

Examples:

  • Water for everyone
  • Micro-giving for easy philanthropy

Takeaway

Gary Vaynerchuk says it well: “Ideas are s***, execution is the game.”  Ideas are great, but ideas are just, well, ideas without executing them exceptionally well. Ideas and execution must walk hand-in-hand if you want to be successful in any fields, including in social business endeavors.