A new survey by Charity Finance found that almost 30% of the general public has never heard of the term “social enterprise”. On the contrary, one third of the respondents correctly identified social enterprises as “a business that is more interested in meeting social or environmental goals, than in making lots of money for owners or shareholders”.
At the end of 2011, YouGov carried out the online survey of over 2,000 adults in the UK, which is home to an estimated 232,000 social enterprises.
The survey results are also broken down into age groups. Respondents ages 18-24 were least likely to identify the correct description of a social enterprise. Whereas respondents ages 45-54 were most likely to identify the correct description.
When respondents were shown a description of social enterprises, more than 44% said they would be likely to use or buy from a business calling itself a social enterprise. Desire for a product or service is the strongest motivator to make them more likely to buy from a social enterprise. The second strongest motivator is the certainty that the business is in fact a social enterprise.
The survey also revealed that 29% of respondents say they would not trust a social enterprise to run any public service and 32% of respondents say they do not know whether they would trust a social enterprise to run any of the services listed.
Despite the uncertainty, attitudes toward social enterprises are generally positive, with 64% of respondents saying “social enterprises seem like a good idea, but I need to know more about them”.
For a full report of the survey, visit http://www.civilsociety.co.uk/docs/charity_finance_social_enterprise_survey.pdf
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