5 examples of great social enterprises that have changed the world.


Progress Through Photography is not a charity, but a social entrepreneurship. For who is unfamiliar with the concept, a social enterprise is an organization that applies commercial strategies to support a social goal – rather than maximizing profits for external shareholders.Our core mission is to help combat animal homelessness in Arizona and create a world (but let’s start with a state) where EVERY pet has a loving forever home. We see ourselves not as a photography business or digital marketing agency, but as a social change agent. We fund this through our services and products, ranging from Pet Portraits to Social Media Strategy services for business in the pet industry.

“When people who do good are also able to do well financially, the world will become a much more sustainable and happier place”

Marcel van der Stroom, Founder & CEO Progress Through Photography.

What is a social enterprise ?

Without re-inventing the wheel, I think Wikipedia says it best:

A social enterprise is an organization that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in financial, social and environmental well-being—this may include maximizing social impact alongside profits for co-owners.

Social enterprises have both business goals and social goals. As a result, their social goals are embedded in their objective, which differentiates them from other organizations and corporations. A social enterprise’s main purpose is to promote, encourage, and make social change. They are sustainable, and earned income from sales is reinvested in their mission. They do not depend on philanthropy and can sustain themselves over the long term. Their models can be expanded or replicated to other communities to generate more impact. As a social enterprise, Progress Through Photography is dedicated to the goal of eliminating animal homelessness in Arizona. We do this by focusing on the underlying reasons for animal homelessness – the big picture

What are the differences between a charity and a social enterprise

social enterprise

What are some examples of successful social enterprises ?

La Gattara Cat Lounge

La Gattara Cat Lounge & Boutique in the Phoenix Metro area is a relaxing place to hang out with some cool cats, play cards, cats, listen to music, cats, use free wifi, cats, read books, cats, play a board game, cats, paint a cat, cats, and yoga with cats! Did I mention hang out with cats? You can learn more about them here.

Animal Mama

Animal Mama is a passion project that aims to provide unique, holistic, healthy, affordable and personalized pet services to animal lovers in Cambodia. As Veterinary Hospital & Animal Welfare Center it offer medical veterinary services, pet boarding, animal daycare, socialization, hydrotherapy, doggy pool & homemade holistic food and treats. Founded by the animal lover, long-time animal welfare activist and a businesswoman, Yulia Khouri, the proceeds from this project fund the on-going rescue/adoptions/health services for the street animals as well as the country-wide education about animal welfare to public. Because Animals are People too.

The Circle Society

It’s a self-sustaining social enterprise that empowers at-risk, emancipated foster youth to lead productive lives through a dynamic housing model aimed at healing several broken aspects of society. We provide former foster kids with the critical resources, sense of security and life coaching they need. In the same setting, senior citizens find renewed purpose in helping these kids realize their vision for successful lives. The rescue dogs help bond the two generations together with a mutual interest they care about. Learn more here.

Canine Perspectives

Canine Perspective CIC was established in 2014 due to the success of a teen fiction novel, Reggie & Me, written by Marie Yates, one of our humans. The book explores the journey of a teenage rape survivor and the impact of her rescue dog, Reggie, on her recovery. The relationship and the principles behind the story led to requests for support from survivors and those living and working with them. As a result of this, Canine Perspective CIC was created. All of the profits from Canine Logic, Canine Progress and Love Learning from Dogs, funds our Canine Hope programs. Learn more here.

Swipes for the Homeless

Swipes for the Homeless is an organization founded by college students who wanted to give back to their community. Now, Swipes has grown to include multiple US colleges including Berkley, UCLA, and Northwestern University. Students have the opportunity to donate their leftover meal plan points to local homeless people. Since its inception, Swipes has donated 330,000 pounds of food

Conclusion – and how you can help

At Progress Through Photography we believe that a social enterprise model is more sustainable than a nonprofit organization as it generates revenues without relying fully on donations. Charities are extremely important in solving social problems, and we work together with a great team of charity partners, but we feel we can make a bigger impact and have a higher degree of flexibility as a for-profit organization. During our journey to profitability, we do rely partially on donations and grants to keep this business running and growing. If you are able to help financially, we greatly appreciate it and you can do so here.

What do you think ?

Do you know of any social enterprises that need to be recognized ? Leave a comment ! We would love to hear from you !

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Great post. I also believe that a social enterprise model is more sustainable than a nonprofit organization, and yes they don’t fully rely on donations or charities. We have also started as a social enterprise and we don’t ask people for donations.

  2. Thanks for sharing. Some great social enterprises here!

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