Is "social enterprise" just another fad?

Is "social enterprise" just another fad?

Attendees gather at Voice11, a 2011 "social enterprise event" in London. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/43781428@N04/5577158382/">Kristian Buus (Flickr)</a>
Attendees gather at Voice11, a 2011 "social enterprise event" in London. Photo: Kristian Buus (Flickr)

Helping people is pretty much always in vogue. But the way it gets done can go out of style.

Just like pop culture trends, the strategies that development agencies use to try to alleviate poverty fall in and out of favor. Last year, Global Envision reported on the Global Microfinance Summit, where many pointed to the weaknesses of an approach that is often lauded as a sort of silver bullet for impoverished populations.

We’ve reported on social enterprise in the past: Tom’s Shoes and Warby Parker, Oliberté, and SELCO in India are all examples. But is this a sustainable model? Check out this recent piece by GOOD Magazine, which asks some of Africa’s social entrepreneurs to weigh in on the future of social enterprise and the tension between making an impact and making a profit.

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