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Sep 19, 2016

Poll Ranks US #1 for social enterprise but no US Cities Rank

The Thomas Reuters Foundation recently polled experts in 45 countries to learn which countries were the most supportive of social enterprise.  The United States ranked first overall, followed by Canada, UK, Singapore, and Israel.

Interestingly, when ranking the most dynamic cities for social enterprise, no US city made the ranking.  London, Berlin, Santiago, Nairobi, and Hong Kong captured that honor.

This high ranking for the U.S. disguises the fact that the “concept of social enterprise and purpose-driven business has not yet got mainstream awareness” says one Australian expert.  Contributing to this are varying definitions of social enterprise, puzzlement that they can be nonprofit and for-profit, and some lingering suspicion that earning a profit and doing good are incompatible.

The ranking by underlying criteria reveals where the U.S. has more work to do. Here is the U.S. ranking and the highest ranking country in that category.
•    Supportive government policy #6 (South Korea highest)
•    Attracting skilled staff #1
•    Public understanding #12 (Israel)
•    Making a living #13 (Canada)
•    Gaining momentum #2 (Canada)
•    Access to investment #3 (Canada)

The ability to attract the skilled millennial workforce to local social enterprise is demonstrated daily.  We are making progress in the other categories. To boost public understanding, www.cincohio.com has a clear definition of social enterprise and a directory of local social enterprises so consumers and investors can learn about their products and impact.  The State of Social Enterprise report informs the reader of all local supporters, investors, trainers, and active social enterprises.

Recently Columbus celebrated the top local social enterprises at the second annual ASPIRE awards.  Food for Good Thought won the top prize with BESA as first runner up.  Other finalists were Double Comfort Restaurant and Art & Clay on Main.

October 25 at Franklin University Ross Auditorium will be the first Nonprofit Sustainability Showcase, a celebration and recognition of nonprofits that use social enterprise to enhance the sustainability of their missions.

Finally, a significant impediment to broader recognition and support of social enterprise is the limited information regarding the true impact of this sector and how these enterprises are meeting the needs of the community. To begin to address this problem, this month two global teams of Cardinal Health executives are reaching out to local leaders in government, business, nonprofits, and start-up investment to learn what data and information they need to evaluate impact and target support to impact-creating businesses.

Based on what the Cardinal Health teams find, the Center for Social Enterprise Development and its three local partners will finalize the design of a two-year project to reduce this barrier to success by developing an efficient and replicable system to collect, evaluate, and report on the impact of social enterprises.

The results of this project should boost public understanding and support of this sector so that Columbus, and the U.S., can truly claim to be dynamic centers where business is devoted to creating social good.

You can stay current on social enterprises and related activities by checking our website, our Facebook page, and our regular tweets.

Allen Proctor, President & CEO

Center for Social Enterprise Development