A social enterprise is a business that has specific social objectives that serve its purpose. Social enterprises are still firms that aim to maximise profits while maximising benefits to society and the environment. The profits of social enterprises are primarily used to fund social programs.

Social enterprises are somewhat middle ground between a traditional profit maximising commercial enterprise and a volunteer organisation. Social enterprises seek to balance activities that provide financial benefits with social goals. Earning profits is not the primary motivation behind a social enterprise but revenue still plays an essential role in sustaining the enterprise.

The main difference between a social enterprise from a non-profit organisation or charity is that social enterprises rely on revenue to sustain itself whereas non-profit organisations or charities rely on external funding like donations.

Social enterprises can be, and in most cases, are profitable. The priority is to reinvest profits into their social mission rather than to pay out dividends to its shareholders.

In Singapore, the Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise (raiSE) is the sector developer and membership body for aspiring social entrepreneurs, existing social enterprises and other individuals and organisations that are interested in contributing to the development of the social enterprise sector. raiSE was set up to raise awareness on social entrepreneurship and raise support for social enterprises in Singapore.

Raise defines social enterprises as business entities set up with clear social goals; and where there are clear management intent and resources allocated to fulfil their social objectives.

There are grants given to provide social-impact driven companies through the VentureForGood grant and through investment into social-impact driven companies in the growth-stage through the raiSE Impact Fund (RIF+).

If you are looking to start a social enterprise, do look for an experienced corporate secretarial firm like us to assist you with this matter.


When in doubt, seek legal advice or consult an experienced ACRA Filing Agent.

Yours Sincerely,
The editorial team at Singapore Secretary Services

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Setting up a Social Enterprise in Singapore