What role do social enterprises play in our society, and what are the challenges social organizations face as they strive to achieve their goals, vision, aims, and objectives?

FINDINGS AND DATA ANALYSIS. What role do social enterprises play in our society, and what are the challenges social organizations face as they strive to achieve their goals, vision, aims, and objectives?

This research was done to address certain issues, and challenges pertain the running of social enterprises. Throughout the study, the main question has been: What role do social enterprises play in our society, and what are the challenges social organizations face as they strive to achieve their goals, vision, aims, and objectives? To answer this question, the research started by trying to first know more about social enterprises through doing a literature review. During the literature review process, the main objectives of the study were to identify the roles of social enterprises, the problems and challenges the social enterprises face while trying to achieve their set mission or objectives as well as establish the impacts of the environment and government policies on the performance of the social enterprises. 

What role do social enterprises play in our society, and what are the challenges social organizations face as they strive to achieve their goals, vision, aims, and objectives?

A qualitative analysis was employed, and five main questions were sent to the participating organizations to get a good insight into the roles, challenges, and impacts of government and the environment on social enterprises. We also used both exploratory and confirmatory research designs. During the exploratory research stage, various information was obtained concerning the roles, challenges, and impact of government and the environment. The study then used qualitative analysis to get the confirmatory findings. During the discussion section, the study will focus on linking the findings from the various organizations that took part in the study with the information that had been gotten earlier in the exploratory stage or during the literature review.

Over the years, the development of social enterprises has been on the rise globally. Most social enterprises aim to benefit various minorities or vulnerable persons within the community. During the literature review, it was found that most organizations are involved in promoting social services such as housing, women’s rights, education, and group rights, e.g., women’s rights and youth rights, and promoting cultural activities. In a broader aspect, most social enterprises were seen to be promoting community development (Nyssens, Johnson & Adam, 2006). During the interviews, the study sort to first establish the beneficiaries of the four organizations, as well as the area of work and the objectives of the organizations, was being investigated. The first question though broad and with four subsections, was aimed at establishing the roles, the scope, and the beneficiaries of social enterprises interviewed. The four interviewed enterprises had results corresponding to the literature review finding. All four organizations had a role to play in helping the vulnerable and less fortunate groups within society.  The targeted groups were children and the young (by organizations A, B, and D) and the homeless by organisations B C and D. The only organisation not to have exclusively targeted the vulnerable and the less fortunate in the society was organisation A. Besides targeting the youth, the organisation also targeted Scottish creative talent. Their main aim was to provide marketing services and blostering marketing channels for the organisations. The organisation just like the other three organisation targeted community development. While the three other organisation were in one way or the other involved in providing housing, organisation A was not in any way concerned with housing. It was involved in creating employment for young people and creating marketing channels for makers of Scottish creative arts.  Organisation B was also involved in educating the young children as well as providing clothing for the children. Answers to the first question and the subsequent questions related to these main questions show that all four organisations were involved in community development in one way. These findings are common with the findings of Prince (2009), which indicates that most organisations were set up with the objective being community development.  Other organisation a has been set up to conserve national heritage and culture (Nyssens, Johnson & Adam, 2006).

The second question sought to establish the challenges faced by social enterprises. This question was general and sought to identify all the main challenges related to specific social organisations. During the literature review, it was noted that some of the challenges social enterprises faced included too much paperwork, funding challenges, strict regulatory and legal framework, and economic changes within the environment. According to a survey by NatWest Small Business Research Trust, it was also shown that funding posed the biggest challenge for social enterprises(Ridley-Duff, 2011). These exploratory findings created a hypothesis that most organisations faced funding challenges. findings from the four organisations seem to form a confirmatory base for these hypotheses as all the organisations apart from organisation A cited funding as the main challenge faced by the organisation. From the research, it is clear that funding posed a big challenge. Though marketing was not anticipated to be a major challenge, the finding shows that marketing was a major challenge. Marketing resources were a challenge for organisation A while marketing and distribution were a challenge for organisation B.  Staffing resources were not a challenge for any other organisation apart from organisation A. Communication was a key challenge for organisation B. This could have been a unique challenge to the organisation in that it operated in two countries, making communication a bit hard as compared to the other three organisations. Organisation C cited the change in the economy and environment as a key challenge. This can also be attributed to the uniqueness of the organisation in that it pursues to change people’s environment and attitude. The environment also directly links with their services, affecting their production. Any economic or environmental change in the farm is a challenge as it affects production. Just like anticipated, paperwork was also challenging as organisation D cited paperwork as a key challenge.

Question 3

The third question asked was designed to explore the funding sources and relate them to the two funding theories established during the literature review. Bricolage is the ability of an organization to fund itself through enterprising activities. According to Sunley and Pich (2012), this is done by revolutionizing their enterprises to plow back the profits they get from their activities. The four organisations participating in our study were all involved in an entrepreneurial activity aimed at providing income and re-investing it. All four organisation mostly relied on self-generated funds as the main source of income. This shows that the four organisations embraced bricolage as a means and theory of funding their activities. Another theory of funding a social enterprise is “resource dependence or resource seeking theory”. This theory suggests that a social enterprise should mobilize funds from its immediate environment. According to Sunley and Pich (2012), bricolage is only sufficient during the start-up period of a social enterprise. This is because the development and growth of any enterprise depend on the income received, and it is hard for a social enterprise to compete with business enterprises whose main objective is to make a profit, while the social enterprise’s main objective is community development through the provision of social services. It is, therefore, feasible for the organizations to seek extra funding from the communities and governments near them. As seen, all the organisation apart from organisation A and organisation B have been relying on both internal funding (bricolage) and also through external sources resource dependence). Organisation A, operating through bricolage, is also considering funding its operations by making the store self-reliant. The organisation is seeking to make do with the available funds from their operation by making innovative ideas, as suggested by Surley and Pinch (2012). The organisation plans to employ innovative means of marketing and selling points to ensure more products are sold.  Organisation, which has also been relying on private funds, wants to make their activities more sustainable. Organisation A, however, seeks to get more funding from the government and other organisations such as the flexible support fund.

Organisation C had many financial challenges even though it employed both bricolage and resource dependence theories. The organisation received funds from the local government, the Edinburgh council, and other external funding like the European fund. Grants were, therefore, a major source of funding for organisation C. this is also the case for organization D, which also relies on Grants and loans even though it faces the challenge of high-interest rates and diminishing opportunities for grants due to the increase in the number of social enterprises seeking for the funds.

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