Social Enterprises

Abstract - EN

Even though not all the practices they designate are new, the—recent—concept of social enterprise (SE) is clearly fashionable and continues to diversify, be it in its organisational, sectoral, geographical or other expressions. Social enterprises combine an entrepreneurial dynamic to provide services or goods with the primacy of a social mission. Beyond this minimal consensus, various tentative definitions have been put forward according to different “schools of thought”. In response to this conceptual diversity, various authors tried to identify SE categories and propose typologies. In the framework of the International Comparative Social Enterprise Models (ICSEM) project, four major social enterprise models have been theorized and tested across the world. Three of the four SE models have been confirmed based on empirical data: the social-cooperative model, the entrepreneurial non-profit model, and the social-business model. Far from aiming at any “unification”, these results highlight very different major models and show in a structured way that social entrepreneurship can emerge from all parts of our economies, including those—different from one part of the world to the other—that were considered previously.