Our History

Founded in 2010, the Social Enterprise Foundation and its support organization Social Enterprise institute USA (SEI) began with a mission to help address some of the world’s most pressing social issues through technology innovation transfer strategies and social enterprise development.

In 2016, the Institute expanded its branding strategy into the Social Enterprise Group (SEG).

The Social Enterprise Group, along with our development programs at Institutions of Higher Education, incorporate the broad scope of services and resources we have to offer to launch social enterprises, assist in their development, and support in funding their growth.

We POWER Social Enterprise

From Idea to Enterprise:

Transforming Innovation to Socio-Economic Impact for the Good of Others.

The Social Enterprise Group (SEG) provides services and resources designed to develop and strengthen social enterprise, drive meaningful innovation, and galvanize the next generation of social enterprise leaders and innovators.

The Group is composed of two affiliated nonprofit organizations:

Social Enterprise Foundation (SEF):
Provides research, education, fiscal agency, sponsorship, and social enterprise advocacy.

Social Enterprise Institute USA (SEI):
Provides social enterprise development advisory services surrounding organizational structure, appropriate scale, and sustainability through earned revenue models.
The Social Impact Funding (SIF), a wholly owned subsidiary of SEI, acts as a financial intermediary by assisting in raising growth capital.

Why- For the Good of Others

The Social Enterprise Group (SEG) was founded with a mission to help address some of the world’s most pressing pressing social issues through social enterprise development, innovation transfer strategies, and commercialization.

What We Do

The SEG applies lessons learned and best practices from successful, social venture sectors to encourage the development of a nonprofit owned social enterprise sector that is efficient and sustainable.

The rationale for focusing on the deployment of nonprofit owned social enterprise businesses is one of a timely nature:

  • Social needs are ever increasing.
  • The level of philanthropy is ever decreasing.

  • Public policy is insufficient to bridge the gap between the two.

The insufficiency in public policy creates an opportunity favoring the rise of social enterprises. The Social Enterprise Group has experienced rapid growth in responding to “market-place needs” as evident by the array of current projects in various stages of development. Project staffing is provided by interdisciplinary teams led by Senior Fellows with significant Industry experience, faculty advisors, and undergraduate and graduate students, as well as subject matter experts from various industries. Project funding is accomplished by utilizing a mix of financial resources such as grants, venture philanthropy and impact investments.

The Social Enterprise Foundation Theory of Change

Theory of Problem: Social needs are ever changing in response to society today. However, they are not being addressed effectively through the use of public policies or private sector businesses because these sectors are not equipped to do so. Nonprofits that work towards impacting these social needs are faced with the continually increasing demand for funding. Yet, the ability to find funding is diminishing.

Theory of Change: We believe that social enterprises provide the most efficient and effective means of addressing these social problems. Our mission is to assist nonprofits in their transformation to social enterprise systems. A social enterprise is a business that exists to fulfill a specific social need and making a measurable, sustainable difference in individual lives while operating profitably. The Social Enterprise Institute development program is based upon the theory of addressing persistent social issues through the use of social enterprises.

Theory of Action: Our goal is to mitigate the cost of social enterprise startup failure and the lack of sustainability by learning from the success of Amish and family business entrepreneurs. Our approach is based in part upon the compelling evidence found within research conducted at the Young Center and High Center at Elizabethtown College. Amish and non-Amish social venture which take the form of family businesses deliver a unique sustainability.

Evidence shows that more than 90 percent of Amish business startups succeed compared to less than 30 percent of non-Amish startups. Relevant factors include the building of strong networks, commitment to apprenticeship and mentoring, work ethic, encouragement to be self-starting, low overhead, failure acceptance, and a preference for small businesses. By learning from these discoveries, SEI works with nonprofits to either start or acquire businesses as subsidiaries to become social enterprise systems which will integrate these cultural practices.

“Science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to humanity, and is the torch which illuminates the world. Science is the highest personification of the nation because that nation will remain the first which carries the furthest the works of thought and intelligence.”

STIVE REYNOLDS, LEAD RESEARCHER

Research

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Discovery

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Analysis

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Testing

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