A lot of western countries now recognise Social Enterprise as a legal entity, which means that they are held to account by their respective governments about their impact.
Unfortunately, here in New Zealand, we don’t have this as a legal entity. So in the most simple terms you can either be a business or a charity.
It’s hard without a clear definition of ‘social enterprise’ when there isn’t a legal standard to adhere to. For example, BP giving lots of money to charities that are focused on environmental programmes, is not a social enterprise. But small businesses that do the same thing ie. sponsor programmes or give to charity, do call themselves a social enterprise. Okay, it looks like we need some help!
Social Enterprise Auckland (SEA) has created a great explainer diagram. Below is the spectrum of where businesses and charities fall, with the truest form of each entity on either side of the spectrum.