Social Enterprise Alliance – Building an Economy on Purpose

Last week Social Enterprise Alliance held its Annual Summit in Minneapolis. The Summit showcased how the social enterprise industry is experiencing dramatic change and growth, and SEA’s national and regional leaders are initiating an ambitious plan to “Build an Economy on Purpose.”

SEA sees that social enterprise and social businesses already comprise a substantial (and growing) portion of our GDP. The organization’s leadership is rolling out strategies to help social mission enterprises continue to grow, and to educate policymakers, investors, philanthropy, educational institutions and other stakeholders about the role these enterprises play in building a sustainable economic recovery.

Since 2010, I have served on the Board of Directors of Social Enterprise Alliance – Los Angeles Chapter. During the Summit I joined three other regional chapter leaders to share my insights on building local leadership through collaborating with SEA members and partner organizations to establish a healthy local social enterprise ecosystem.

While at the Summit, I learned that SEA and its members are building an economy on purpose by directing renewed efforts to pursue policy initiatives that help these entities succeed. SEA’s specific policy objectives include:

  • Supporting the passage of the Social Enterprise Ecosystem and Economic Development Commission Act (re-introduced by RI Rep. David Cicilline last Monday) to establish criteria for defining and identifying social enterprises, identify opportunities for the federal government to leverage social enterprise, and develop a report to further support social enterprise.
  • Expanding a variety of US Small Business Administration and Department of Commerce loan, loan guaranty and technical assistance programs to include nonprofit social enterprises.
  • State and local proclamations recognizing Social Enterprise Day/Week to increase policymakers’ awareness of social enterprise.
  • Formation of state and local task forces, which serve as vehicles to build support for, and the growth of, social enterprise.
  • Adding social enterprise to public procurement policies and practices.
  • Increasing the use of Social Impact Bonds (SIBs)/Pay for Success programs.
  • Adopting new hybrid social business legal entities, including L3Cs, Benefit Corporations, Flexible Purpose Corporations and other entities.

Sustainable Law Group is excited to collaborate with SEA and its partners to further support social enterprises and the policies that contribute to Building an Economy on Purpose. If you support SEA’s goals, please consider becoming a member of your local chapter and reaching out to your legislators to ask them to support these policy positions. To learn more, please contact Cecily Jackson-Zapata at (213) 223-6262 or

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