Whether you’re working in one, starting one, or buying from one, social enterprises will help you have an impact.
But be conscious of what kind of impact you seek to make, and don’t just blindly go with a social enterprise because they label themselves as so.
An external social enterprise has designed their product, or service, to make change in the world. Their desire is to have impact outside of the corporation and change systems within consumerism, culture, and society.
An internal social enterprise is an enterprise for change, yet the product they produce is not very unique. The uniqueness comes from the operation and culture of the employees. Here, an internal social enterprise, seeks to change the way business is done, improving culture, employee satisfaction, or philanthropy.
One is not necessarily better than the other. Both have worthy missions, but an internal enterprise has limited impact unless their company explodes in size. Even 10,000 employees is not nearly the volume of impact that a customer base could have if your product is designed to change the world.
If you’re considering starting a business, I would encourage you to build both sides of it into the fabric of the company. Heck, if you already have one, you should work to do this.