Part 3: Social Enterprises are Powerful Contributors to our Community
The term social enterprise is becoming much more well known and here at CVS we are so excited to hear that. The value of a social enterprise can be seen across our entire community – not just for the social enterprise itself. When a social enterprise is created, it enables a group of people to pull together products and services that are valued in the community. However, by delivering these products and services through a social enterprise model, every purchase gives back to the community whether that is through jobs that are created or enabling employment for people in our communities.
What is a Social Enterprise?
Although awareness of social enterprises is rising, it is still important to define what a social enterprise is. Simply put, a social enterprise is a business with social objectives. Maximizing profits is not the primary goal of a social enterprise as is the case with a traditional business. Social enterprises do not give away products for free, employees are not volunteers. The business operates like a traditional business but the business model is not driven by profits. All proceeds from the business usually get reinvested back into the business. In the case of CVS, every time we sell a bath bomb or walk a dog, the money earned goes to cover raw material costs or to pay a fair wage to the people who are working within the business.
A Social Enterprise Offers Connections and the Ability to Showcase Abilities
CVS began its social enterprise journey in 2017. Since that time, we’ve really observed the people we support create new products, develop their sales skills and fine-tune new skills that will help them work in the community for years to come. The opportunity a social enterprise presents for people with developmental disabilities is that it highlights the diverse ability of each person and allows each person to champion that unique piece of the puzzle. DisDaBomb and adVentures Dog Walking have given people we serve a chance to contribute and earn an income while being part of a supportive team.
A Benefit to the Community, Not Just the Person with the Developmental Disability
Social enterprises seek to create mutual benefit for people across the community and people within the business. We can speak endless hours about examples of how this has benefited the people we serve at CVS. It has given them greater independence and confidence, being part of the enterprise has sparked creativity and an opportunity to develop skills they may not even know they had. As part of our work at CVS, we do our best to match these passions to the job an individual does. By aligning the passion, the people who are working in these businesses come to work excited for the day ahead and are eager to make the most of their role in the success of the business. This creates products and services that are of value to the community and an enthusiasm when distributing them. When you purchase a bath bomb or hire us to walk your dogs, you are not only obtaining a high quality product or service, you are also supporting a small business and helping to offer fair wages for people with developmental disabilities. It is really a win-win for everyone.
How You Can Support Social Enterprises
There are a number of ways you can help to support social enterprises, including:
- Become a customer – pop into a store or buy products or services online
- Tell friends or family – spread the word of the social enterprises in the local area – make a difference just by telling others
- Raise awareness about social enterprises – share this post and let others know what social enterprises are all about
To learn more about our Social Enterprises at CVS, check out our website. To check out our bath bombs visit our DisDaBomb website or pop into our store at 2342 Clarke Street. To find out more about our adVentures Dog Walking business follow us on Facebook (@adventuresdog) or Instagram (@cvslovesdogs).
And…stay tuned for the final part of our 4-part series coming out next week – Giving Back to Our Communities.