Social Enterprise

Social enterprises use business strategies to increase their social or environmental impact.

Like any other business, a social enterprise aims to create revenue. It is how the business uses their revenue that sets it apart.

There are many different types of social enterprise. For example, they can be:

  • For-profit companies
  • Non-profit societies
  • Co-operatives
  • Credit unions
  • Community contribution companies

Social enterprises help to address many of the challenging issues facing B.C.’s communities, including:

  • Training and job opportunities for people who have employment barriers 
  • Housing, advocacy and support for vulnerable populations 
  • Recycling, ecotourism, and car-sharing

B.C. is seeing significant growth in the social enterprise sector.

The B.C. government has proclaimed Social Enterprise Month since 2014. Events during Social Enterprise Month showcase and celebrate social enterprises across B.C.

Community Contribution Companies (C3)

B.C. was the first province in Canada to introduce this new type of hybrid corporation in July 2013. By incorporating as a C3, the business: 

  • Conveys to consumers that their company is focused on social impact
  • Provides investment opportunities for lenders who seek social as well as financial value
  • Demonstrates accountability for social impact through reporting requirements 

Creating this model is part of government’s commitment to support the social enterprise sector. Learn about starting a C3.