The Rise of the Social Economic Enterprise

A couple of months ago a friend of mine, Ben Pecotich, said he was starting a business targeted at helping Social Enterprises.


Good – a new term. Curiosity lights up –

“What’s a Social Enterprise Ben?”

“It’s a business that doesn’t have shareholders and exists to support a more community or collective based set of values.”

What, Like a charity or Not for Profit?”

No, Charities and NFPs don’t make a profit and are founded on fundraising or sponsorship models whereby people support the good, usually because the market wont. Social Enterprises create value in exchange for money, and often want to make a profit so they can grow in many ways but use that money for the good of the collective upon which they’re based”

Cool – Sounds very old school and highly relevant

Yesterday morning I was in Melbourne having breakfast with Joel Hanna from Xero and lead songwriter from The Wilds who suggested we go to KinFolk – a Social Enterprise Café opposite Spencer Street station.  Kinfolk is a social enterprise serving up coffee and a seasonal menu crafted from local and sustainable produce, driven by a dedicated team of volunteers. The profits are redistributed to partner charities oriented around social inclusion.

With these two experiences in mind , the reason I was in Melbourne was to meet with a selection of CEOs and executives from a lesser known group of Australian banks – Credit Unions and Mutual Funds. These are banks, also known as building societies, operate under the same regulations as the major “for Profit” banks and compete with them for customers but are owned by their customers, not investors. Hhmmm , Sounds like a Social Enterprise.

The term “building society” first arose in the 18th century in Great Britain from cooperative savings groups. In the UK today, building societies actively compete with banks for most consumer banking services, especially mortgage lending and savings accounts.

There are 45 building societies in the UK, 8 in New Zealand, over 100 in Australia including the imaginatively titled “The Sweeter Banana Co-operative” and approximately 7000 of them in the United States with 95 million members comprising 45.4 percent of the economically active population.

The Greek crisis is filling the news and providing another global example of how people’s trust in banks, currencies and political systems is being eroded and social enterprises, those that place community members at their heart, rise in popularity with parallel financial and political systems evolving.

Help each other, make these changes Brother, sister, rearrange this The way I’m thinking That we can change this bad condition

Wait, use you mind and not your greed Let’s connect and then proceed This is something I believe We are one, we’re all just people

One tribe y’all, one tribe y’all One tribe y’all, we are one people

Black Eyed Peas – One Tribe Lyrics

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Digital is rapidly commoditising banking around the world, forcing participants to compete on margin erosion and funding. In the new engagement economy, there is an alternative: Harness the power of game to build digital experiences that deepen customer relationships, provide value and are relevant by supporting customers to thrive with their money.