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9 Social Enterprise Business Models


Change Creator™ has identified 9 working social enterprise business models that bring value to customers. As they state, there are 3 measures that define if a business model in generalis successful or not: the model’s ability to generate profit for its owners, its ability to generate positive change in the world, and its ability to achieve a balance of profit and positive change. The latter is applied to social enterprises.  A social business model is therefore a structure, design or framework that a social business follows in order to bring about a positive change while maintaining healthy financial returns.



According to a study by Wolfgang Grassi, there are 9 types of social enterprises.

1. The entrepreneur support model that sells business support services directly to the entrepreneurs in its target population.


2. The market intermediary model that helps their clients by marketing or selling their clients’ products or services for them.


3. The employment model, in which a social enterprise provides their clients with job opportunities and job training.


4. The fee-for-service -model where a social enterprise charges the customer directly for the socially beneficial services it provides.


5. The low-income client model where a social enterprise generally offers social services directly (as in the fee-for-service model) while focusing on low-income clients.


6. The cooperative model, a fee-based membership organization that provides member services to a group that shares a common need or goal.


7. The market linkage model that focus on building relationships and otherwise connecting their clients with markets for their clients’ products and services.


8. The service subsidization model that funds social programs by selling products or services in the marketplace.


9. The organization support model also sells products or services to fund social programs (as the service subsidization model). However, the social programs they fund are part of a separate, parent organization.


As there are many variations of these models, they can provide ideas on to how to create sustainable benefit to society while balancing your finances.


Read more on the 9 business models from the original research or the story by Change Creator™


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