I have been asked by an academic friend to be co-author of a chapter in a book to be published by Oxford University Press about Social Enterprise in Australia.
The main theme of our chapter is community practices Vs entrepreneurialism, it will focus on the decline in popularity of community development type practices and the rise to stardom of social enterprise as a favoured way to address social issues. It will use the enterprise I manage as an example and will present arguments for and against the case for entrepreneurialism in community organisations including issues relating to public V private risk; this includes the interesting notion that failure is good in entrepreneurial contexts as it is arguably the most valuable learning tool, but that failure can be fatal for small community organisations trying to be entrepreneurial and diversify their income base. This is all in the context of a shrinking of state based funding for community organisations and a desperate clamour by these organisations to find new ways to fund their community work.
I’ll also be talking to some very experienced social enterprise practitioners who have recently very purposely redefined their businesses away from being called “social enterprise” to “community enterprise” in order to keep their grass roots philosophy close to home. And, at the other end of the continuum to people who argue that social enterprises can be for profit vehicles and are a way to encourage structural change of the current dominant economic paradigm, in effect ‘ethicalising’ the business sector via leading by example.