One sign that the social enterprise field is maturing is the emergence of guides and directories. And one sign that the field still has a way to go is a lack of consistency in how social enterprise is defined (if it's defined at all) or what information is presented about each listing. But now there are enough directories in circulation to create, well, a directory of directories, all in one place. This is that place.
Social Enterprise Shopping Guide* was created this fall by the npEnterprise Forum for those who would prefer to make online purchases that create positive change in the world. It profiles approximately 40 ventures where purchases provide training and employment for disadvantaged individuals, deliver needed supplies to underserved communities, or address critical environmental issues.
Social Enterprise Dining Map* was created this summer by the npEnterprise Forum. It lists 108 social enterprise cafes, restaurants, coffee shops, ice cream stores, bakeries, and catering services in the US and Canada.
Social Enterprise Directory, from Community Wealth Ventures (in partnership with Social Enterprise Alliance), is a "directory of nonprofits with business ventures and strategic alliances." It was created almost ten years ago and thus is fairly dated, but still sometimes useful. It covers the US.
Social Enterprise Database from Give To Get Jobs (a new organization) aspires to include "everything from sustainable non-profits and L3Cs to B Corporations and soon FPCs and everything in between." It currently lists 1,200 organizations in the US, with plans to expand to other countries.
Canadian Social Enterprise Marketplace, from the Social Enterprise Council of Canada, is more recent and provides a useful tool for researching SEs in Canada.
Buy With Heart, from Social Venture Partners/Rhode Island, presents more than 100 social enterprises in Rhode Island. Their definition: "Social Enterprises provide high-quality, locally produced products and services while addressing some of society's most pressing challenges."
Colorado Social Enterprise Map*, created by SEA Colorado (Social Enterprise Alliance chapter) presents more than 100 SEs in that state.
Latest L3C Tally from interSector Partners L3C lists 500+ firms that have achieved L3C status.
B Corp Directory from B Lab lists almost 500 certified B Corps.
iuMap, described as the "world's largest social enterprise map," from Next Billion, lists 450 enterprises employing market based solutions to poverty in 65+ developing countries.
*Disclosure: I created the three directories marked with *. For each of those, the SEA definition of "social enterprise" was used.
Copyright © 2011 Rolfe Larson Associates. Republished by permission.
The npEnterprise Forum discusses practical steps social enterprises use to build capacity, mission impact, and financial sustainability through income-generating business activities. The npEnterprise Forum is the official listserv partner of the Social Enterprise Alliance (http://www.se-alliance.org), a membership organization. This list is owned and moderated by Rolfe Larson Associates (http://www.RolfeLarson.com). More information at http://www.npEnterprise.net, including how to subscribe and unsubscribe.