By definition, a social enterprise is a means to achieve sustainability through earned income. However, it is important to note the financial objectives differ among organisation. Social enterprises do not need to be profitable to be worthwhile. They can improve efficiency and effectiveness of an organisation by :
– reducing the need for donated funds
– providing a more reliable diversified funding base; or
– enhancing the quality of programmes by increasing market discipline
So the definition of “scale” needs to be redefined. Scalability is crucial. But scalability doesn’t mean BIG. It means its recurrent, replicable and sustainable. Let’s hope with the Startup India schemes, the definition of scale especially for social enterprises is better understood!
In a study that niiti consulting did in 2012, we tried to understand the barriers to social innovation and scale and how social entrepreneurs have overcome them. I am sure these “Voices of Experience” will help a number of practitioners through their challenges.