ReUse Industries
ReUse Industries

Social Entrepreneurship

Social entrepreneurship (also sometimes called nonprofit earned income or social enterprise) is when a nonprofit organization operates a for-profit business to generate money to support its mission-related activities. This promising but risky strategy requires a careful assessment of potential benefits and risks as well as extensive preplanning in order to be successful.

Sources of Additional Information

For general information on social entrepreneurship, go to the Duke Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship website.

Contact the local Small Business Development Center for information on entrepreneurship training and other resources available for local businesses. Although some aspects of business ownership will be different for nonprofit-owned companies, most will be the same.


The Regional Nonprofit Alliance has some useful information on social entrepreneurship in its library. Stop by to borrow a book or, if you aren’t close by, send us an email ( with the type of information you are looking for, and we’ll send you a packet of information electronically. 


Books in our library include:


  • Generating and Sustaining Nonprofit Earned Income edited by Sharon Oster, Cynthia W. Massarsky, and Samantha L. Beinhacker
  • Ripples for the Zambezi: Passion, Entrepreneurship and the Rebirth of Local Economies by Ernesto Sirolli
  • Effective Fundraising for Nonprofits: Real Strategies that Work by Ilona Bray

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