Social enterprises are businesses that exist solely to help others. Rather than pocketing their profits, they instead use them to create real social change; this may be locally or worldwide, on the high street or over the internet, from coffee to beer, socks to cinemas.
“It’s business for good and when they profit, society profits” – Social Enterprise UK
With just a small bit of research, it wouldn’t be difficult to live daily life exclusively buying from and working with these social enterprises. They’re present in almost every sector, be it entertainment, consumer goods, energy, or more – and with over 80,000 social enterprises currently running in the UK, there are definitely some you’ll have heard of. The Big Issue, Eden Project and Divine Chocolate are just a few of vast array of social enterprises, which employ almost 1 million people in the UK, and contribute approximately £24 billion to the economy.
Schemes such as Social Enterprise UK’s Buy Social campaign challenge everyone to consider what we buy, where we buy, and how we can do good with our purchasing choices.
Here are some of our favourite, lesser known social enterprises.
“Drink Beer Give Water” – this is Brewgooder’s mission. Their Clean Water Lager provides drinking water for those that need it across the world, using their craft blend of Sorachi Ace and Saaz hops to drive profit, 100% of which is then donated to clean water charities.
Beginning on World Water Day 2016 with 1,000 supports, Brewgooder have since helped over 33,000 people in dire need of clean drinking water.
“What if socks could change the world?”. Stand4 Socks stand by this statement, and with all of us wearing socks on a daily basis, why couldn’t they?
According to Stand4, socks are the most requested item by homeless shelters. So, they created a social enterprise sock company, donating one pair of specially designed socks to homeless people for every pair of socks that they sell – one for one.
Why not think about the difference your sock purchases could make when the time next comes to replace an old pair?
From Babies with Love
When you purchase From Babies with Love, your money supports abandoned and orphaned children from around the world. They understand that children who have lost their parents through war, poverty, or disease need someone else to rely on, so they provide homes, healthcare, and education to support these children.
With bespoke designs for babies clothing, gifts and toys, and partner charities such as Street Child and SOS Children’s Villages, your purchase turns a gift for one child into a gift for two.
Though many people may be unaware of it, a large number of girls in the UK miss school simply because they can’t afford sanitary products.
It’s this issue that Hey Girls seeks to fight, giving a girl or woman struggling in the UK one pack of products for every pack they sell. Their philosophy is that girls and young women should never have to compromise their wellbeing or their health because of affordability.
Homelessness has over doubled in the UK in the past 10 years, with over 4,000 people now sleeping on the streets every night. Meanwhile, the average Londoner buys two cups of coffee every day, creating a demand that requires over 100,000 jobs to keep up in the UK alone.
Change Please pieced these two growing trends together and developed a way to solve both simultaneously. By training homeless people as baristas, employing them to run coffee carts and shops, paying London Living Wage, assisting with housing, and providing emotional support, they help the homeless feel welcome in society again.
“Good coffee doesn’t just taste good – it does good too.”