Social Enterprise - " New Wine in Old Bottles" ?

The current perception of Social Enterprise, presented in the media and championed by many within the sector, is as a new business model, just like any other business a quasi private sector approach adopted for the needs of the Third Sector and the new breed of 'entrepreneurs' with a social conscience, inspired by the Apprentice .

Whilst no one would deny the need for good business acumen and enterprising approaches the danger is we could miss the radical traditions and roots of social enterprise which have a strong links and ethos our movement.

Steve Wyler from DTA sets out below some of that historic tradition of social and community enterprise and inspiration for people and communities today.

Our rich tradition

Today we strive for community ownership of land and buildings; for community-led enterprise where profits are re-invested for common good; and for self-determining communities, of a size and structure capable of generating social capital and enhancing quality of life.

All of this has deep roots in our past.Core elements of our vision, with variations due to language and circumstance, are found generation after generation in England, all the way back to the fourteenth century.

Dispossessed communities have returned continually to these simple but profound ideas, as the means of overcoming poverty, achieving social justice, and creating a better way of life

In their time many of the pioneers of community enterprise were regarded as eccentric, even mad.Only now is it possible to see that they were the ones with insight, acting with vision and courage.

What we are doing today emerges from a long, lively and rich tradition.Knowing this, we are the stronger for it.

Steve Wyler Director DTA

For further information on development trusts and the history of Social Enterprises

Community Enterprise
Development Trusts in Wales video Pt 1
Development Trusts in Wales video Pt 2


Other Useful/Publications and websites

Social Enterprise - whats it is & why it matters - Dr Martin Price
Social Enterprise Coalition
Welsh Social Enterprise Coalition
Community Shares