Social Enterprise: Grown-up Lives

Grown-up Lives

I received another of Hannah Ensor’s illustrations at the weekend, inspired by the ease and beauty of the new Winser London range featured here last week. I’m calling this one ‘Grown-up Lives’.

Both name and inspiration seemed entirely apposite to me as I had been thinking about company structures and how outdated traditional capitalism and its’ me-me-me ethos seems in today’s world.

OK, I see the puzzled frowns as you wonder where I’m going with this but it’s all about being grown-ups, no?

Big business being run for a few, already rich, people; the basic selfishness of the human gene countered by the generosity and humanity of the human spirit; outmoded legislation making it so difficult to run businesses with a mix of personal profit for those risking their time and money as well as genuine altruism of ethos and intent should good profits arise.  As others have said, it is surely time to revisit the mechanisms and motivations of business and just make it easier to dovetail profit and altruism which are not, for most, mutually exclusive objectives.

And then, last week, I really started to look at Social Enterprise UK and,  hello, I think I see a light at the end of the tunnel.  What are Social Enterprises?

According to Social Enterprise UK, social enterprises should:

Have a clear social and/or environmental mission set out in their governing documents

Generate the majority of their income through trade

Reinvest the majority of their profits

Be autonomous of state

Be majority controlled in the interests of the social mission

Be accountable and transparent

Hurrah!  Apparently, at least 50% of profits must be reinvested or distributed on ‘mission’ objectives.  Doesn’t this sound like a refreshing change?  It might well be the way of the future, allowing start-up, and established, businesses to adopt a conventional business model but focus more specifically on sharing profit, on a much fairer basis, between investors, staff and those who investors would like to benefit from their business endeavour.

Great start to the week: Grown-up Style from Hannah, Grown-up Capitalism – maybe – in the pipeline.  How’s your week going so far?

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