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Disciplines

2.1 CIVIL ENGINEERING

Abstract

At European level there is no universally accepted definition of what constitutes a social enterprise (GHK, 2006). However, the number of definitions of what constitutes a social enterprise reflects the diverse understanding of what a social enterprise actually is. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) (2002) definition is widely used: A social enterprise is a business with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners. Social enterprises share a number of common characteristics: they are established to achieve social objectives while simultaneously engaging in economic activity. They are democratic in that they are governed by a group of individuals on behalf of a geographic community or a community of interest. They strive to be accountable to the community in which they operate or aim to benefit.

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