Saturday, December 29, 2007

Social Enterprise and the Small Business Administration

Benetech was recently featured in a report to the President (of the U.S.) on small business. There was a chapter in the report entitled Social Entrepreneurship and Government, and Benetech was one of the case studies used (see pages 36-37). Author Andrew Wolk, a Senior Lecturer at MIT on Social Entrepreneurship, focused much of his discussion around the concept of how social enterprises were a socially useful response to market failure. He covers some other great social enterprises such as ITNAmerica (a novel approach to senior-focused paratransit) and Kaboom! (building playgrounds in poorer communities).

One of these days it would be great if nonprofit social enterprises were eligible for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants: these federally funded competitions often request proposals in areas (such as disability tech) where the market is unlikely to lead to a viable company but where a nonprofit social enterprise could very well become viable.

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