Business Models

So how does Social Enterprise creates “help others, help yourself” model? Let’s have a look at the most common types how the operations could be structured.

Direct Employment

Social Business hires people from underprivileged communities or people with disabilities. For example, a Singapore-based Foreword Coffee only employs people with disabilities in their coffee shops. They came up with a system of communication and task split for the team to effectively make every coffee cup, providing employment to the community which would normally rely only on government support for funds.

Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP) 

This model focused on developing cost-effective solutions to sell to the poorest population. The solution usually resolve some problem of this population. Traditional products which would resolve this problem are very costly for the poor population and hence not affordable. Businesses operating BoP model leverage on technology and automation as well as creativity to create a new solution for these problems which would be affordable to the beneficiaries. 

An example of BoP social business is Vestergaard.


Buy One, Give One (B1G1) is a model where a customer is charged a higher price for a product, which allows the enterprise to donate the same product to those who can’t afford it. 

An example of a Social Business that popularized this model is Toms Shoes

Sustainable Model 

This is a business model where companies use environmentally-friendly production techniques or produce products/services that benefit environment. 

An example of this kind of social business is a German CO2 Online

Sharing Economy 

This is a model where business leverage on sharing of products or resources to either make solutions more affordable to lower-income population or to improve environmental sustainability. Shared economy is often called Collaborative Economy and a one of the representative of this model is Spare Harvest.

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