Social Enterprise ‘Unrecognised’ - Study
6 February 2012 at 9:34 am
‘Social enterprise’ is an apparently unrecognised term to the general public, with nearly one-third of people in the U.K having never heard of it, according to a recent study.
The study, carried out by YouGov on behalf of Charity Finance, quizzed more than 2,000 people and found that 33 percent had never heard of the term.
The study found that just over 30 percent of those questioned thought it meant a business that is more interested in social or environmental goals, than in making money for owners or shareholders.
Having had a general description of social enterprise explained to them, more than one in four respondents said they would be more likely to use or buy products or services from a business calling itself a social enterprise.
Dr Michael Wagstaff, head of public sector consulting at YouGov, said that the results show the latent demand for products provided by social enterprises does not automatically translate into delivery of public services.
In Australia, Dr Michael Moran from the Asia-Pacific Centre for Social Investment & Philanthropy at Swinburne University said he was not surprised with the results.
“What is surprising is that fully two thirds of the public have heard the term,” he said. “That said, social enterprise is arguably more embedded within the Not for Profit sector in the UK than in Australia.”
Dr Moran also said he thought the results of a similar survey in Australia would be “significantly lower”.
“Outside of the Not for Profit sector and specialist sections of government, academia and the private sector the term would have limited traction,” he said.
“This is not to say that Australia does not have a vibrant and growing social enterprise sector but that the term – as with other terms like the ‘third sector’ – have limited traction with the broader public.”
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