Document Structure

The typology is organized in five main sections that can be read in any order based on the reader's interest and familiarity with the subject.

The first section introduces the subject with various definitions of social enterprise, a history in brief, an overview of the field's current state and outlook as well as a discussion on the evolution of the field toward an integrated approach.

The second section puts the social enterprise field in context. It starts by organizing practitioners on a spectrum by their philanthropic versus their commercial orientation. It then examines notion of “hybrid” or “dual purpose” entity, which creates both economic and social value, as well as the implications of a hybrid approach on an organization's financial strategy and program strategy.

The third section presents several ways of classifying social enterprises, either based on their mission orientation, based on the level of integration between social programs and business activities, or based on the nature of their target market.

The fourth section presents several common social enterprise operational models grouped into three main structural categories which cover a wide range of interplay between several variables, such as clients, market, social service programs, mission orientation, financial objectives, etc.

Finally, the fifth section examines social enterprise structures as they relate to ownership and legal status.