Doing Good While Doing Business Using Financial Viability to Enhance Employability for the Disadvantaged

Publisher: Nonprofit Management and Leadership (online ahead of print)
Jan 25, 2019
Authors
Nan L. Maxwell, Adam Dunn, Dana Rotz, and Megan Shoji
The employment social enterprise (ESE) model can provide an opportunity to create a financially viable business that helps individuals with employment barriers become integrated into the labor force. This research studied eight ESEs. Findings suggest that by applying private‐sector business principles to a workforce development programs, social enterprises can provide participants with meaningful and valuable work experience, while offsetting program costs. Analysis identified four promising practices that social entrepreneurs should adopt when setting up a new enterprise. Enterprises should (a) provide soft‐skill training and social services to participants; (b) operate at a size that allows for economies of scale in production and the provision of support services; (c) have few occupational skill requirements; and (d) hire supervisors with both industry knowledge and the capacity to support individuals with employment barriers.