Lack of public knowledge about the social enterprise movement is one of the barriers that prevents its development, according to a new paper from thinktank the Centre for Local Economic Strategies.
Understanding Social Enterprise argues that businesses with a social aim have the potential to produce lasting, meaningful social change.
But the authors also acknowledge that social enterprises are inhibited by factors such as lack of public recognition and understanding.
A recent report from Charities Aid Foundation argued that enterprises were being held back by funders that didn't understand their needs and were reluctant to put money into risky projects (Third Sector, 12 May).
Co-author of the centre's report, John Pierce of Community Business Scotland Network, sets out six characteristics of social enterprises that distinguish them from other businesses.
The paper gives examples of social enterprises in practice including the Kuumba Imani Millennium Centre in Liverpool and recognises the contribution of the recently created Social Enterprise Coalition in aiding collaboration between social enterprises.