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What are social enterprises?

Social enterprises combine societal goals with an entrepreneurial spirit. They operate in the social economy with the main objective of having a social impact rather than to make a profit for their owners or shareholders. They operate by providing goods and services for the market in an entrepreneurial and innovative fashion and uses their profits primarily to achieve social, cultural or environmental objectives. A social enterprise is managed in an open, responsible and transparent manner. In short, social enterprises are businesses who work for the benefit of people and planet, rather than just for profit.

What is the difference between a social enterprise and a business?

Social enterprises carry out their operations by trading their products or services just like any other business, but unlike any other business, whose main aim is to generate profit, a social enterprise's main aim is to contribute to the well-being of a social, cultural or environmental cause. A social enterprise must re-invest a part of its profits in their mission.

What is the difference between a social enterprise and an NGO or charity organisation?

NGOs and charity organisations do not carry out acts of trade. They rely on donations in order to carry out their activities. Social enterprises use commercial tactics to earn funds without relying on donations. They operate their business to fulfil their mission, and sustaining the business by generating money through the same business. Moreover they generate employment whilst pursuing their social or environmental goals.

In which industry do social enterprises operate?

Social enterprises can be found in any industry including: education, employment, work integration, health services, well-being, nutrition, agriculture, food and water, holistic services, medical care, professional training, childcare services, services for the elderly, services for the disabled, services to a disadvantaged minority, gender rights, LGBTIQ rights, neighbourhood development, neighbourhood rehabilitation and/or regeneration, remote rural areas, environmental protection, marine life, animal rights, aid or cooperation with a third world country or a war/disaster stricken country, sports, arts, culture, fashion, transport and mobility, historical preservation, science, research and innovation, consumer protection and so on.

What are the legal structures of a social enterprise?

Social enterprises worldwide use a wide variety of legal forms. They can be for-profit, not-for-profit, a co-operative, and a foundation, amongst others. SEAM community is working to encourage our legislators to adopt a Social Enterprise Act, since to date, there is no legislative framework for social enterprises in Malta.

What does SEAM do?

SEAM aims to be a point of reference for all entities which identify as 'social enterprises' in Malta. Our main objective is to promote social entrepreneurship in Malta, inter alia, through the introduction of a legal framework and the setting up of an adequate support ecosystem. We also aim to provide support to social enterprises in the form of consultation, education, funding guidance and a list of other professional services for social entrepreneurs. We build networks, create a sense of community, value collaboration, and foster knowledge about local and global cultural, social and environmental issues. Moreover, we aim to raise awareness about social enterprises and encourage others to support them.

Whether you are just starting out, or already operate as a Social Enterprise, you are welcome to join our association as a member.

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