Can social enterprise help with your organization’s financial sustainability? YES, possibly. Read more to find out. Social enterprise has taken off as a new formula for success. Whether subsidized or self-funding, these initiatives combine business methods with a drive to better the communities we are a part of.  Blending financial goals with your mission for social, cultural or environmental impact is one of the most effective ways your organization can work toward greater financial stability while still feeling connected to your larger purpose. Social enterprise is another tool to support your financial sustainability along with a broad funding base, impact evaluation and reporting, efficient operations and a functional strategic plan.  One of the best ways to think about social enterprise is using the  ‘blended return’ model; blending financial returns with social, cultural or environmental impact. See graph for illustration of the blended return model.


A strategy we often use in social enterprise development is based on a philosophy of research, test, repeat. This helps in seeing if the idea is feasible and helps get it right.

Here are four steps to think about for your social enterprise development:

  1. Get clarity about the problem you are trying to solve and how you’ll know you are on track.

  2. The Social Business Model Canvas is the best way to get a handle on what your social enterprise needs to think about before starting. Here is a link to a great PDF.

  3. The lean start-up mindset is an effective, risk reducing way to get out there sooner and simpler, to test the waters and see if social enterprise is right for your organization. This article from the Harvard Business Review says it all.

  4. The Kolb experiential learning model helps us test, improve and test again to get it right without needing to be perfect from the start. That means you can start now and ‘grow better’.

And don’t forget, social enterprise is a commitment – it takes time and energy.  So, connect with someone in-the-know to see if it’s right for you. 

Human Resource needs and knowledge is real, and perhaps especially during this time of COVID-19. Thankfully, support is only a phone call away. 

Meet Denise Loyd from Engaged HR
Engaged HR is an award-winning HR consulting firm in Victoria, BC, serving non-profit organizations all across Canada. The vision of Engaged HR is to “transform workplaces” and believes in working in partnership with each and every client. Denise Lloyd, MA, FCPHR is the Founder and CEO of Engaged HR and she is a successful entrepreneur with a deep love of the non-profit sector. With over 30 years of HR leadership experience, Denise loves bringing new ideas and innovation to the way HR contributes to the mission and vision of an organization, and after working with hundreds of organizations Denise and the entire Engaged HR team are known for creating great places to work!

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