Social Enterprises

What is a Social Enterprise?

There are many existing and evolving definitions of what a Social Enterprise is. We believe one of the best definitions comes from the Social Enterprise Alliance (SEA), a member organization supporting 900+ social enterprises:

“Social enterprises are businesses whose primary purpose is the common good. They use the methods and disciplines of business and the power of the marketplace to advance their social, environmental and human justice agendas.”

Three characteristics distinguish a social enterprise from other types of businesses, nonprofits and government agencies:

  • It directly addresses an intractable social need and serves the common good, either through its products and services or through the number of disadvantaged people it employs.
  • Its commercial activity is a strong revenue driver, whether a significant earned income stream within a nonprofit’s mixed revenue portfolio, or a for profit enterprise.
  • The common good is its primary purpose, literally “baked into” the organization’s DNA, and trumping all others.

HopeWorks Approach to Fighting the Cycle of Poverty

HopeWorks develops and operates social enterprise businesses designed to create career pathways for both youth and adults who are homeless or heads of at-risk households. Currently three social enterprises have been established: GroundWorks Landscaping, ReNewWorks Home & Decor, and CafeWorks Coffee & Food.

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Twelve-week internships teach and develop soft and hard skills for career success in the chosen pathway. Graduates may be hired by HopeWorks or assisted to secure employment in the industry of the internship. Make sure to check out some of our success stories under the “About Us” tab as we are proud of our interns and the hard work they put in for our future and their own futures.

But Wait! There’s More!

HopeWorks plans to develop additional social enterprises in order to offer an array of career pathways toward a living wage through a wage progression approach.We plan to develop more social enterprises in Phase II of the HopeWorks Station. Phase I is complete with our currently home at 3331 Broadway, Everett, WA. Phase II will include building a five story building next door that will have three floors of low-income residential space and ground floor space for additional social enterprises. Learn more about Phase II here!



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