By Rebecca Lurie
In a recent paper on the Pinkerton Foundation website, Steve Dawson describes how social purposes business can accomplish business growth and social impact:
In a burst of entrepreneurial spirit, the workforce development field is showing new enthusiasm for an old idea: creating “social enterprises” to employ low-income jobseekers.
The theory is enormously appealing. We can create good jobs for constituents who have a hard time finding work elsewhere and the profits will help fund our nonprofit organizations. The reality, however, is far more complicated.
He then draws out a series of recommendations for business. I would punctuate one aspect of what he recommends to draw together the best practices of workforce development and business development for a social purpose:
Even more powerful is a ‘systems strategy’ that leverages change, beyond the walls of the enterprise, into the broader labor market.
When we go into the business of a social enterprise for social impact, we are aiming to improve the lives of the workers and the people in the community where the business exists. By systems thinking, we think yet broader than the labor market strategy and pay attention to the community where the industry exists. Continue reading Taking a Systems Approach to Social Impact