Social Enterprise Institute

The Social Enterprise Institute (SEI) at Elizabethtown College brings together faculty members, industry fellows of the Institute and students, to collaborate on social enterprise development initiatives that create sustainable social and economic value both domestically and internationally. The vision of the SEI at E-town presents an opportunity for the College to make a significant social impact. We do this by building upon a deep respect for the talent, passion and dedication of those who have devoted their lives to working for the common good. This approach aligns with the College's mission to educate our students for lives of service, and providing them with real world learning experiences as well as signature learning experience (SLE) opportunities.

Learn more about the Social Enterprise Service Group

Highlighting Some Current SEI Projects:

  • ACTWell for Families, Inc.
  • Treasures Markets
  • Commercial Drivers Life Network
  • Nepali Spice Company, Inc.
  • Lake Frederick Eco-Tourism
  • Pop Culture
  • ECHOS, Inc.


What is a social enterprise?

Many social enterprises look, feel, and even operate like traditional businesses. However, the defining characteristics of the social enterprise are: the mission is the driver of the organization, with income generation playing an important supporting role.

Often a social enterprise is an enterprise, owned at least in part by a non-profit organization that is using entrepreneurial methods to accomplish social goals and which provides its profits to its owner(s) for use in continuing their core mission.

The short of it:

A social enterprise is an organization that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being, rather than maximizing profits for external shareholders.

The long of it:

Social enterprises are revenue-generating businesses with a mission. Whether operated by a non-profit organization or by a for-profit company, a social enterprise has two goals:

  1. To achieve social, cultural, community economic or environmental outcomes
  2. To earn revenue.

Social Enterprises:

  • Have a clear social and/or environmental mission set out as part of their governance
  • Generate the majority of their income through trade
  • Reinvest the majority of their profits
  • Are autonomous of state
  • Controlled in the interests of the social mission
  • Are accountable and transparent

Social Enterprise Institute Press Release