Though definitions of a social enterprise may vary based on country or region, the most common understanding of the term in British Columbia is that it is a for-profit business owned by a non-profit society that is able to provide income to support the mission-based aspects of said non-profit. According to Enterprising Non-Profits, a collaborative multi-stakeholder program to support social enterprise that is funded by several credit unions, trusts, and the Province of British Columbia, the growth of social enterprises can be attested to three recent developments:
- Diminished government funding
- The understanding that there are some needs the market will never meet on is own
- The opportunity to advance mission-related goals
The aggregate effect of social enterprises is the creation of both financial and social capital, which contributes to the growth and development of the social economy and community-at-large in which they operate within. Part of what makes these organizations and businesses unique is that they straddle a middle ground between the public and private sector. The Hastings Crossing BIA has many of them, and they continue to do great work offering high quality competitive products and services while supporting valuable social and environmental goals with their revenues.