Friday, December 02, 2005

Social enterprises

Here is the Economist's take on social enterprises.

As for what exactly "social enterprises" are...

No specific legal form fully captures the concept. Social enterprises sit on a sliding scale between those that are “social” because of the products they sell, to those that are social because of the people they employ or the way they are organised.

Caf√©direct, a business created by Oxfam, a charity, sells only coffee for which growers have received a fair wage. It is now one of the biggest coffee brands in Britain. Farther along the scale is Fifteen, a restaurant started by Jamie Oliver, a television chef. It serves food prepared by young people who have known homelessness, unemployment, drugs and alcohol to Londoners pleased to pay £24 ($41) for a main course. Employees are encouraged eventually to down their pecorino graters and start up their own restaurants. Farther still is Daily Bread, a bakery business in Cambridgeshire with strong Christian values which employs staff who have a history of mental illness and other problems. It pays workers and bosses the same wage.

—Mellow Monk

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