The Top 6 Books on Social Enterprise

One of the great things about social enterprises is how seemingly limitless their scope is. There’s an opportunity for positive change in every sector of our society, whether it be increasing environmentally friendly practices in the tech industry or employing previously incarcerated prisoners in meaningful employment. Although incredibly diverse, all successful social enterprises owe their success to driven and informed social entrepreneurs. Thankfully, some of those individuals have written incredibly informative books on their social enterprising experiences.

If you’re considering social enterprise, these 6 books are all must-reads:

Mission, Inc. by Kevin Lynch & Julius Walls, Jr.

An amazing read for understanding key concepts regarding social enterprise. The book focuses on the authors’ personal experiences with ten paradoxes that they came across when building their social enterprises.

Venture Forth! by Rolfe Larson

A valuable resource that goes through all the steps necessary to create and launch a successful nonprofit organization. Larson provides worksheets that identify your venture’s strengths and weaknesses, and helps you to make smart business decisions based on your own data analysis.

Enterprising Nonprofits: A Toolkit for Social Entrepreneursby J. Gregory Dees, Jed Emerson & Peter Economy

Mainly focusing on the business practices used by modern nonprofits, this trio of highly qualified authors shows you how to complete the transition of becoming a social enterprise. It really is a toolkit – you’ll be using concepts learned in this book right away.

Strategic Tools for Social Entrepreneurs: Enhancing the Performance of Your Enterprising Nonprofit by J. Gregory Dees, Jed Emerson & Peter Economy

A great continuation on their first book, former to this one on the list, Strategic Tools for Social Entrepreneurs offers guidance on how to keep improving your social enterprise. It’s jammed back with hands-on exercises and tidbits of practical wisdom.

Social Entrepreneurship by Peter C. Brinckerhoff

Brinckerhoff’s book is one part personal skills development, and one part risk management. It teaches you how to think like a social entrepreneur and gives you tips and tricks to deal with all the risks associated with creating a social enterprise.

Building Social Business by Muhammad Yunus

From Nobel Peace Prize-winning author Muhammad Yunus, Building Social Business is an engaging read and insight into why social enterprises are key to solving world issues. An inspirational book that serves as a reminder on the importance of social entrepreneurs.

That should keep you busy for a while! And if not, there are plenty more readings in our Resources section. And you're hungry for more practical guides, subscribe to a course - we have courses related to every topic on social enterprise.

And so we begin!

In a perfect world, we might not need the term ‘social enterprise’. Businesses would think in terms of global impact and well being, and reap a profit as a secondary reward for improving the economic, social and environmental well being of their community. In reality most businesses think in terms of profit – the value of improving humanity’s condition is a secondary consideration.

Business CAN be a gateway to creating meaningful social, economic, cultural, and environmental change if an active effort goes into shifting a business’ success criteria away from isolated income and towards WHY it does business and WHO is impacted. The goal of social enterprise is to meld those two frames of reference; business (profit) and non-profit (social impact). Combined, we can bring prosperity to communities while addressing local issues and needs.

Of course, social enterprise is not a panacea; it's not the cure-all for the increasing economic inequality we see today.  But it is one tool we can use to create economic and social well-being in our communities, one that's not too far-flung from the original for-profit and non-profit models, but which offers a more balanced approach to achieving both.

This is why the Social Enterprise Institute (SEI) was created - to help anyone, regardless of location or economic ability, to set-up a social enterprise to address issues and causes they care about. SEI was also created to make learning easier to implement; to take the hassle out of learning new skills by delivering seamless, short, on-demand eLearning produced by industry professionals. If you come with a passion to start social enterprise, SEI can deliver the pathway. For any idea, of any size, starting at any point in development.

Modern technologies not only connect us, they grant us immediate access to the resources we need to tackle challenges and stay aware of what matters on both a personal and global scale. Though these challenges vary from person to person, as a civilization we share a few pressing ones. For businesses to participate, social consciousness must overshadow monetary gain, and we must be willing to take on these challenges at a personal and local level - with the help of experts we can reach around the globe.

It’s not impossible. In fact, this change is already happening all around us. Social Enterprise is a new(er) movement, but social enterprises have been operating since the early 80's. Modern, savvy social entrepreneurs have building fascinating companies that are both financially successful and committed to meaningful local and global change. It’s change being driven by a connected global community and informed professionals. Many of these social entrepreneurs will be featured in this blog - stay tuned!

Our goal is to help grow this movement and help more people to succeed. To offer products that give a clear path and easy-to-use tools that help you step-by-step. We’re excited to share more as we launch! For more information and to keep up to date, subscribe to our social media channels, sign up to our email newsletter, and get ready to build your Social Enterprise!