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Social Enterprise Planning and Development

Paper Type: Free Assignment Study Level: University / Undergraduate
Wordcount: 2028 words Published: 2nd Nov 2020

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Social enterprises are businesses with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally re-invested for that purpose in the business or the community rather than driven by the need to maximise profits for shareholders or owners, According to (EMES, 2002) A social enterprise is a business with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners. In this essay I am going to consider two social enterprises and discuss about their foundation, the potential that exists to transpose their business thought somewhere else on the planet, how it may need to contrast, the potential trade offs and unintended consequences that I might have to take into consideration.

The social enterprises that I am going to discuss about are:

  • Social Bite
  • Hey Girls

Both enterprises are Scottish and are contributing to society enormously. There is a growing number of social enterprises in Scotland, according to (CEIS, 2019) There are over 6000 social enterprises in Scotland ,the social enterprise workforce exceeds 80,000 people and is 64% female and the social enterprise sector contributes £2 billion to the economy.

Social Bite


Social Bite was begun by Alice Thompson and Josh Littlejohn in 2012 as a Sandwich Shop in Rose Street, but not just any sandwich shop, Josh and Alice decided to operate as a Social Business giving away all profits to good causes. In the space of just six years, Social Bite has gone on to employ 70 people and operate a chain of five social enterprise sandwich shops across Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Aberdeen as well as a food delivery service called “Social Bite Delivers”. Social Bite is also recognised as a Supported Business. The Social Bite Village was launched in May 2018 and provides safe accommodation for people experiencing homelessness, creating an alternative to the sub-standard and ineffective temporary accommodation solutions that currently exist (SOCIALBITE). The Social Bite Village is a project that combines an innovative housing model, using vacant council-owned land, along with a supported community environment.

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How their individual context has shaped their business idea and mission

Social Bite was born when their founders met Prof Mohammad Younus of Bangladesh, they were so inspired that they decided to sell their events business and risk everything they had to set up a Social Business. Social Bite started as a mere sandwich shop, they started by offering free food. According to their website  (bite, 2019)  soon we were employing several people who had been homeless and it was through the shared experience of working together that we became aware of the complexity of issues facing people on our streets and the vulnerable situations in which they find themselves. They knew they had to do more, they started by helping the homeless people as homelessness is a major problem in Scotland- t (SOCIALBITE)Homelessness remains a significant problem in Scotland's main cities, despite the very strong statutory safety net in place since the coming into force of the

Homelessness etc. (Scotland) Act 2003, and widespread support for the principles of the 'Housing Options' approach to homelessness prevention implemented since 2010. In beginning they were just providing just free food to some homeless people, but their social mission has changed over the years, they have grown into a huge enterprise now. They distribute more than 140,000 items of healthy free food via their cafes each year and their weekly Social Supper events connect 400 vulnerable people every week with food, support and opportunities (bite, 2019).

Their Business idea has changed over the years, in 2015 they set up the social bite fund with the mission to end homelessness in Scotland. They raised over 7.65 million GBP via their campaigns (SOCIALBITE) and now they provide permanent housing to the homeless.

The potential that exists to transpose their business idea elsewhere in the world and how it might need to differ

Homelessness is a major problem in every country in the present world. According to (YaleGlobal, 2019) about 2 percent of the world’s population may be homeless. Another 20 percent lacks adequate housing. Such statistics come with a caveat. Obtaining accurate numbers is difficult, mostly due to wild variations in definitions around the globe. There is a huge potential for Social Bite in India as it is estimated that there are 1.77 million people are homeless in India (Jha, 2013).

Their business idea might need to differ in India to work effectively as the number of homeless people is 40 times more than Scotland(36465 in Scotland (Scotpho, 2018-19)      ).  They certainly will not be able to provide free accommodation in India as it would lead to high expectations amongst the rest of homeless people and it might lead to disruption in harmony. They would need to employ more staff and increase the size of the shops due to the higher amount of customer they will have to deal with. They might also need to employ security guards because of the crowd they will have to deal with.

The potential trade-offs and unintended consequences to consider

By providing free food it might turn the people lethargic and dependent, although it can provide jobs to the homeless. One of the trade-offs for operating India would be that they won’t be able to provide permanent housing, they can provide temporary housing to the homeless people.

Unintended consequence might be:

  • It would lead to higher expectations in homeless people.
  • Disruption in harmony if they would not meet the demand.

Hey Girls


Girls in the UK miss school because they can’t afford period products. Hey Girls is on a mission to tackle period poverty through their ‘buy one give one’ sanitary products – for every pack a person buys Hey Girls gives one to a girl or woman in need. Just in the last 12 months Hey Girls have donated over 2.4 million products to women and girls who can’t afford them. Hey Girls was founded by Celia Hodson and her daughters Becky and Kate, with the philosophy that girls and young women should never have to compromise their wellbeing or their health. Celia herself being a single parent understand first-hand the financial strain of buying period protection when struggling to survive on benefits. The situation for women just like her hasn’t changed in twenty years, which is why she set-up Hey Girls

How their individual context has shaped their business idea and mission

Hey Girls works on a Buy One Give One Model. Hey Girls started due to period poverty, Statistics show that one in 10 girls between the ages of 14 and 21 in the UK have been unable to afford sanitary products, while 49% have missed an entire day of school because of their period. In the UK, period poverty has caused more than quarter of women to miss work or school (CompassionUK, 2019). Just in the last 12 months, they have donated over 2.4 million products. Hey Girls was started with the initial funding of mere 20,000GBP, now there are over 200 donation partners that Hey Girls works with who ensure that our products are received and given to girls and women who need a little extra help this month. Their donation partners include community organisations, home shelters, food banks, and charities. Their business has evolved over the years, they started with the aim of eradicating period poverty and help the teens in need. They have already partnered with all the major supermarkets in UK. Their next big mission is menstrual awareness and they already have organized campaigns like Bloody Big Brunch and give pads a go. They are really trying their bit to make a change and according to their website their next big step is (HeyGirls, 2019) Our ambitious goal is to eradicate period poverty in the UK.

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The potential that exists to transpose their business idea elsewhere in the world and how it might need to differ

According to (FIGO, 2019) top to 500 million women and girls are living each month in period poverty. Due to financial constraints, they lack access to essential tools for menstrual hygiene management (MHM), such as sanitary products and handwashing facilities. Hey Girls has potential to succeed in almost every country in the world as period poverty exists everywhere in the world. It could be huge successful enterprise in India as Over 150 million women in India suffer from periodpoverty, some women use cloth or rags with sand, jute or even cow dung, which increases the risk of infections, while many are subjected to social, religious and cultural restrictions during menstruation (World, 2019).

They might have to run awareness campaigns as menstrual education in rural areas is almost non existent in India. They might also need to aware the parents and the locals about the uses of tampons as only 5% of the Indian women population are aware of this facility (Ramnani, 2019).

The potential trade-offs and unintended consequences to consider

Lack of awareness regarding tampons and other sanitary products might lead to less sales or no sales which might lead to closure of the enterprise. Tampons are still considered as taboo in India, the very first misconception being the fact that it is associated with a woman’s virginity and it’s believed that the process of wearing a tampon is discomforting and hurts, which is false and has been rubbished by most of the limited tampon users in India (Ramnani, 2019). They might have to operate with sanitary products that accepted by the female population in India.


  • bite, S. (2019). About Us – Social Bite.
  • CEIS. (2019). Social Enterprise Census- Accesed jan 3- https://socialenterprisecensus.org.uk/.
  • CompassionUK. (2019). Period Poverty: Tackling the Menstruation Taboo | Compassion UK Period Poverty: Tackling the Menstruation Taboo | Compassion UK (2019). Available at: https://www.compassionuk.org/blogs/period-poverty/ (Accessed: 6 January 2020).
  • FIGO. (2019). Month After Month: Period Poverty | FIGO (2020). Available at: https://www.figo.org/news/month-after-month-period-poverty-0016153 (Accessed: 7 January 2020).
  • HeyGirls. (2019). HEY GIRLS SOCIAL IMPACT 2018 - Hey Girls HEY GIRLS SOCIAL IMPACT 2018 - Hey Girls (2020). Available at: https://www.heygirls.co.uk/about/hey-girls-social-impact-2018/ (Accessed: 6 January 2020).
  • Jha, S. (2013). Jha, S. (2020) 1.77 million people live without shelter, albeit the number decline over a decade, Business-standard.com. Available at: https://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/1-77-million-people-live-without-shelter-albeit-the-number-decl. New Delhi: Business Today.
  • Ramnani, D. (2019). Why Are Tampons Still A Taboo In India? | Youth Ki Awaaz (2018). Available at: https://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2018/01/tampon-err-taboo/ (Accessed: 7 January 2020).
  • Scotpho. (2018-19). Demographics - ScotPHO (2020). Available at: https://www.scotpho.org.uk/life-circumstances/homelessness/data/demographics/ (Accessed: 6 January 2020).
  • SOCIALBITE. (n.d.). (2020) Social-bite.co.uk. Available at: https://social-bite.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/EradicatingCoreHomelessness.pdf (Accessed: 6 January 2020).
  • World, B. (2019). BBC World Service - WorklifeIndia, Menstruation: How can India tackle period poverty? (2020). Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3csy146 (Accessed: 7 January 2020).
  • YaleGlobal. (2019). As Cities Grow, So Do the Numbers of Homeless | YaleGlobal Online. yale.


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