Social Enterprise Day – November 17, 2022

Social Enterprise Day is on the third Thursday in November, falling on November 17 this year. It is a part of Global Entrepreneurship Week. Social enterprises are organizations that work to improve the environment and enhance the lives of those less fortunate. But are they non-profits? Or are they profit-making enterprises? They can be either one or a blend of both structures. Regardless of the business model, social enterprises help us view companies differently. They show us that organizations can generate revenue and also do meaningful work. Why shouldn’t the two come together after all? On Social Enterprise Day, we celebrate trailblazers who revolutionize what we know about business and social impact.

History of Social Enterprise Day

Although it became popular a few decades ago, the concept of social enterprises isn’t new. The idea and meaning may have changed through time, but its spirit remains intact. History has shown us some of the finest examples of social entrepreneurship; people who initiated ideas to eradicate social problems or bring positive social change.

Florence Nightingale was one of the earliest social entrepreneurs. She’s venerated in history books as an ‘angel.’ While those accounts are correct, we must never forget how she founded the world’s first nursing school. Nightingale developed nursing practices as we know them today. She was also a brilliant statistician.

On the other side of the globe, Vinoba Bhave, the founder of the Land Gift Movement in India, implemented a remarkable land reform movement. It was a movement where he persuaded India’s wealthy landowners to voluntarily hand over a percentage of their estate to the landless.

Robert Owen, considered the founder of the Cooperative Movement, believed in a world co-created by equals. He walked the talk by setting up a model business community where profits and social equality harmoniously co-existed. These social entrepreneurs were driving change long before the term became part of 19th-century management discourse.

Contrary to popular opinion, social enterprises aren’t always non-profits. Most social enterprises aim to be financially self-sustainable. The idea is for good work to continue without depending largely on donations or state support. Social Enterprise Day encompasses all companies with a social or environmental mission. Organizations such as GoodWill, Me to We, and Babban Gona immediately come to mind.

Social Enterprise Day timeline

1800s
Never the Two Shall Meet

The idea that business and philanthropy can co-exist is still an unimaginable concept.

1902
The Beginnings of Goodwill

A Methodist minister collects old items, repairs them, and resells items to the underprivileged at reasonable rates.

1907
The Idea of Education Changes Forever

In Italy, Dr. Maria Montessori introduces a revolutionary child-centered education model.

2010
When Philanthropy and Business Meet

An era of new ideas facilitates the emergence of for-profit social enterprises. 

Social Enterprise Day FAQs

What is the meaning of social enterprise?

Social enterprises are businesses with a social or environmental mission. They make profits like traditional businesses; what sets them apart is what they do with these profits. Social enterprises reinvest or donate most profits to create positive social change. 

Who is a Sociopreneur?

One who does business based on its influence on society and the environment.

Is a social enterprise a charity?

Social enterprise can be both a charity or a private company. It’s a business that works for profits and a host of specific social or environmental objectives. 

Social Enterprise Day Activities

  1. Support social enterprises

    Do you know of a company in your area serving the public good? Show them some extra love today. Buy their products and offer words of encouragement.

  2. Volunteer at social enterprises

    Social Enterprise Day is an opportunity to volunteer at local groups. Lookup a place closest to you and call ahead to find out how to help.

  3. Share the love

    Getting the word out is half the battle won for resource-strapped enterprises. Help them out by sharing their work on social media, or buy their products and give them to family and friends.

5 Facts About Florence Nightingale That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. Florence Nightingale was a polyglot

    She was fluent in French, German, English, and Italian and could also speak Latin and classical Greek. 

  2. She chose nursing despite family objections

    Nightingale’s wealthy family disapproved of nursing — a profession regarded as lowly and unbecoming in the 1800s.

  3. She supervised a team of 38 Nurses

    During the Crimean War, Nightingale single-handedly managed a team of 38 volunteer nurses at a field hospital in Scutari. 

  4. She created the first pie chart

    In 1858, Nightingale was one of the first to adopt the pie chart, in her report 'Notes on Matters Affecting the Health, Efficiency, and Hospital Administration of the British Army.' 

  5. A lady of influence

    She successfully advocated for far-reaching sanitation laws — legislation that increased Britain’s national life expectancy by 20 years.   

Why We Love Social Enterprise Day

  1. For new perspectives

    Social Enterprises Day celebrates revolutionary thinking. It forces us to re-examine what we’ve known all along about charity and business.

  2. The future looks bright

    In questioning old ideas, we open ourselves to a world of new possibilities. Perhaps we can make money by doing good? As a result, people’s aspirations and goals could change. And the world may be better off for it. 

  3. Much-needed inspiration

    Social enterprises inspire us. Their commitment to the planet and its people is commendable. It’s hard to look beyond ourselves some days. But today, we’re reminded that everyone can do better. 

YearDateDay
2022November 17Thursday
2023November 16Thursday
2024November 21Thursday
2025November 20Thursday
2026November 19Thursday

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