Social Enterprise is a for-profit venture run by a not-for-profit or charitable organization. The profits generated are returned to the non-profit entity to be used to support the mission and mandate of the organization. The Salvation Army is a good example – they have more square footage of retail space than any other retailer in Canada. They direct their profits to the care and housing of our needy citizens.
In the United Kingdom, fully one percent of all registered businesses are social enterprises. They employ a half a million people and add £40 billion to the economy.
Vancouver Native Housing Society has plunged into the social enterprise world with the creation of two businesses, the Urban Aboriginal Fair Trade Gallery and the Skwachays Lodge. Both of these enterprises are run out of our heritage building at 31 West Pender Street.