Building the Employment and Economic Self-Sufficiency of the Disadvantaged: The Potential of Social Enterprises
Social enterprises are financially viable businesses that put social objectives at the forefront of operations. This study provides some of the first evidence on the impacts, costs, and benefits of social enterprises, using information from seven organizations that intentionally hire individuals with severe employment barriers. Results suggest that social enterprises have the potential to create value: the average dollar invested in a social enterprise produces benefits valued between $0.42 and $1.31 for taxpayers and at least $1.34 for society as a whole, implying a 34 percent social return on investment. Furthermore, the returns to society of converting a profit-driven business into a social enterprise exceed 100 percent.
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