Welcome to a social enterprise utopia

Posted on 10/05/2019


Capitalism is broken, protests are rising, austerity has stretched the country to breaking point and business as usual is just not sustainable anymore.

This means we need a new, better, future for work. One which moves away from materialism, but which respects the role that stock markets and a demand led economy can play.

This may sound radical, but even capitalists agree.

In Scotland a new stock exchange will soon be launched, currently going by the codename Project Heather, it will assess a firm’s profit, but also it’s wider performance.

This will include technological innovation and social, environmental and community impact.

A new kind of stock market could just be one element of a social enterprise future.

Social enterprises are companies that have a positive social impact. Many will do this via their work, such as employing those with disabilities, but more important is what social enterprises do with their profits.

Social enterprises re-invest or donate profits to create positive social change.

This can range from tacking period poverty, reducing re-offending and making life easier for those with mobility issues.

So from the beer you drink (check out Brewgooder for a beer with a positive social impact) to the food you eat, the media you use and even the supply chain your company works with, social enterprises can make a huge difference.

In addition, a social enterprise future will see more use of technology, the continued rise of co-working and remote working. This will lead to a more positive working environment.

And if the social enterprise model was adopted by big firms, imagine what the impact could be.

For example, Shell’s billion dollar profits could be used to help the developing world diversify faster from carbon.

HSBC could use c.$3m per branch to help alleviate local poverty in the community and GSK could invest its millions in reserves into helping children and babies.

A social enterprise future for work means a better world, a better planet and a better working life in an economically sound way.

This post was first delivered as a talk at The Melting Pot in Edinburgh and appeared in a modified form on Grit Daily.