Thursday, February 21, 2013

Social Enterprise ?

There are 2 types of social enterprise locally - the Real and the Fake. Social enterprise like Dignity Kitchen is Real, as the founder is passionate of helping and training the disadvantage to be independent and able to make out on their own. Just look at the way it is manage and visit their operation.  He comes up with his own cash to support the business until it is sustainable. The business operation and finances are lean.

There is also Fake one which is a sucker for govt fund and thus public money. The founder is well off but yet asking for govt funding. She wants to use the label of 'social enterprise' to boost business image.

She claims to offer training to the disadvantage but in  fact less then 10% of her staff are 'unskilled'.  She only takes in skilled staff. Her staff are not disadvantage, but just housewives looking for a job to occupy time after their children have grown up.

She set up shops in business district where rental is expensive. Her business expands very fast within a few years as she is ranking up handsome profit.  Most clients don't mind paying high fee for their service because they thought they are doing a good deed patronising such social enterprise business. But in fact they are 'con' as the owner is profiteering from the 'social enterprise' label.

Talk is cheap, so don't be misled by what the owner says when she gives interview to glorify herself. Talk to her staff, look at her management and the way she operates.

So next time when you patronise any social enterprise shop, open your eyes and ponder if it is REAL or FAKE. It could be just a label which is NOT supported by actual deed of helping the disadvantage.

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