Workplace Innovations · · 6 min read

14 Social Enterprises and Examples: How They Impact the World

Social enterprises are businesses that act to intentionally tackle social problems, improve communities, people, or the environment.

Social Enterprises That Will Impact the World

Social enterprises are businesses that act to intentionally tackle social problems, improve communities, people, or the environment.

They can be structured as a for-profit or non-profit, and they reinvest their profits back into the social or environmental goals of the business.

Social enterprises use business strategies to achieve social change – whether that’s providing employment opportunities for disadvantaged people, developing innovative products or services that address social issues, or using environmentally-friendly designs and processes.

There are many different types of social enterprises, but all share the common goal of using business as a force for good.

Some common examples of social enterprises include fair trade businesses, eco-friendly businesses, and businesses that support a marginalized community.

The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Social Enterprise: Step-by-Step Processes
This guide will provide you with a step-by-step process, legal considerations, and funding opportunities to help you launch your social enterprise successfully.

The modern social enterprise movement can be traced back to the mid-20th century, when a number of organizations were founded with the explicit purpose of using business to achieve social or environmental change.

One early example is Grameen Bank, which was founded in 1976 with the mission of alleviating poverty in rural Bangladesh.

Since its founding, Grameen Bank has helped millions of people escape poverty by providing small loans (known as “microloans”) to help them start or grow their businesses.

Social Enterprises That are Impacting the World


Beam is a crowdfunding platform solving homelesses by enabling new career opportunities for homeless men and women. Beam uses technology and global citizens to help fund skills training and education to homeless individuals.

With the Beam platform, you can help someone start a new career and leave homelessness for good.

The platform works like this. Each person on the platform is referred to Beam by an established homeless charity or their local council.

They receive a dedicated support specialist – a Beam employee who supports them all the way into their new career!

The support specialists conduct basic security checks to make sure the referred person is mentally and physically ready to enter full-time employment.

After that they help each person develop a tailored career plan, building on their unique strengths and interests.


Era92 is made up of driven entrepreneurs creating and investing in social enterprises that create jobs, foster entrepreneurship with a vision to create prosperity in frontier markets to put an end on poverty and youth unemployment.

They have established social enterprises ranging from finance, media, education to hospitality all with one aim to end poverty in underserved communities that we serve.

The New Africa strategy, ‘Unlocking Africa’s Youthful Potential’ has been developed by era92 that outlines how, over the next decade, they will focus on finding solutions to the youth employment challenge and reducing poverty in Africa.


MovingWorlds is a social enterprise addressing the global talent gap. The online platform and community connects people who want to travel and volunteer their expertise directly with social enterprises around the world.

You can lend your talents in basically every different sector.

From accounting, to web design, from social media marketing, to business and sales strategy, to IT training, to video editing, to SEO specialists – MovingWorlds offers amazing opportunity at startups and organizations all over the world to lend your talents.


Rooted in collaboration and innovative design solutions, Anchal is a non-profit that operates like a business. By driving impact through product sales versus donations alone, we are confident in the long-term sustainability of our initiatives.

Their programs demonstrate that when we systematically address employment inequality, we can reduce the number of women reliant on commercial sex work and eliminate the stigma that women and girls face around the world.

95% of Anchal artisans have left the commercial sex trade or dramatically reduced their clients. Every artisan has her own personal bank account. And 100% of artisans are investing in their children’s education, thereby breaking the cycle of exploitation.


Sitti is a conscious lifestyle brand committed to the self-reliance of refugee and displaced communities through long-term employment opportunities and skill development training, empowered by an inclusive global economy.

Sitti is building a sustainable social enterprise committed to the self-reliance of the refugee community. Thier community-based organization (CBO) partners help make this possible.

In addition to employment opportunities, sales revenue supports community programming for refugees in their host country. Help provide Computer classes, English classes, and artisan training by purchasing your Sitti products today!


Nest is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) supporting the responsible growth and creative engagement of the artisan & maker economy to build a world of greater gender equity and economic inclusion.

Through programs that support the wellbeing of artisans both in the United States and globally, Nest is bringing radical transparency and opportunity to the informal handworker economy.


Pula is an agricultural insurance and technology company that designs and delivers innovative agricultural insurance and digital products to help smallholder farmers endure yield risks, improve their farming practices, and bolster their incomes over time.

Pula works across Africa and Asia, and in 2019 alone, they facilitated crop and livestock insurance cover to 1.1M farmers and have offered products in 11 markets.

The founders worked across the insurance sector and have been recognized by several international awards including the Financial Times/IFC Award for Sustainable Finance, the Singapore Fintech Festival, Womens World Banking, Credit Suisse, and InsureTech3.0.

Cope Notes

Our brain is constantly rewiring itself based on what we see, read, hear, and imagine. The more often we think a thought, the easier it is to think, the more likely we are to think it again, and so on. For better or worse, this is how habits are formed.

But contrary to popular belief, it can take up to 254 days for a new habit to take root. Cope Notes guarantees the consistent interruptions necessary to replace old thought patterns with healthier ones.

Shea Yeleen

Shea Yeleen is redefining beauty through proving that nourishing our skin with the purest, most lush, quality ingredients is not mutually exclusive from empowering our sisters across the globe.

The handcrafted products nourish more than just your skin— each purchase directly contributes to the financial empowerment of women in Ghana, which builds stronger communities. Currently, the business model is supporting the education of 268+ children.

The supply chain was consciously designed by Rahama(founder), after serving in the Peace Corps in 2005. Reconnecting with her West African roots led her to build a social enterprise that pays producers 5x the local minimum wage, and uplifts entire communities behind them.

The Yeleen Sourced proprietary process is what sets the brand apart – financial empowerment, community development, traditional processing methods, and an unwavering commitment to ethically sourced organic and natural ingredients.


The platform’s mission is to promote environmental and economic stewardship through regenerative agriculture. They do this by providing flexible loans to human-scale farms, ranches, fisheries, and food producers looking to propel their operations forward.

As their businesses grow and generate more revenue, they pay back their loan with interest. Steward also gives qualified lenders the opportunity to purchase loan participations, advancing the mission by helping to fund the growth of regenerative agriculture in their community or across the country.

Work for Impact

Work for impact is a purpose-powered, on-demand talent platform designed specifically for socially, environmentally responsible and non-profit organizations.

Work for Impact matches skilled and purposeful individuals to like-minded organizations. They do this not only to help them fulfill the job in hand but also to create a positive impact in the wider world beyond.

Increasingly populated by purposeful organizations and socially conscious individuals, the world of work has become more dynamic, more impactful and more ethical in its talent needs and demands.

Waterbear Network

Waterbear is a global network for conservation and sustainability. They believe that the world’s future depends on our ability to protect and preserve our planet’s natural resources.

Waterbear brings people together from all corners of the globe to share knowledge, collaborate, and take action on behalf of our environment. WaterBear is the first interactive streaming platform dedicated to the future of our planet.

Whatever you feel passionately about in the world of climate action, biodiversity, sustainability, community, diversity and more, WaterBear provides access to award-winning and inspirational content that empowers members to dive deeper, learn more and take action.


iFarmer can connect farmers, space/landowners, investors, and crop buyers to create a complete farming supply chain.

To date, the app and platform is used by 71,000+ farmers in Bangladesh and growing rapidly month over month.

Bangladesh alone has 20 million small-scale farmers!

The company has developed an innovative online platform that enables anyone in Bangladesh to easily sponsor in farming and livestock. Being a part of the iFarmer community is more than earning returns.

Open Forest Protocol

The Open Forest Protocol is an open platform based on a public blockchain to transparently measure, verify and fund forestation projects

The Open Forest Protocol (OFP) is changing how forestation (reforestation, afforestation and conservation) projects are monitored, verified and funded with blockchain technology.

Protect our climate. Scale forestation with digital transparency and trust.

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