What is a social enterprise anyway?

What is a social enterprise anyway?

Taboo Sanitary Products is a Adelaide based social enterprise that donates 100% of it's net profits to projects helping women and girls gain access to menstrual healthcare and education in Developing Countries. You may have heard us mention our Social Enterprise business model before and wondered 'what the heck does that mean, anyways?!'. We’re here to break it down for you and explain the ins and outs of Taboo’s business model and what that means for you, our customers.

Social enterprises are business that use the economic power of the marketplace to help solve a social or environmental issue. In Taboo’s case, this is the two-pronged goal of ending period poverty globally by ensuring all women have access to sanitary products and education about their period, as well as the goal of doing away with the social stigmas surrounding menstruation. Social enterprises have both social and business goals, existing to benefit the global community rather than shareholders or key stakeholders like in traditional business models. Taboo has no shareholders, and therefore we are able to pass on our profits to projects helping women, like One Girl. Some other social enterprises that you may know of and even help fund are: Zambrero, Who Gives a Crap and Thank You Water.

The 2010 and 2016 study, Finding Australia’s Social Enterprise Sector, found that there were over 20,000 social enterprise businesses in Australia, with 73% of them being small businesses. 28% of beneficiaries of social enterprises in Australia are disadvantaged women, with 35% going to people with disabilities and 33% for young people.

Okay, so now that we have a basic understanding of the social enterprise business model, I know what you're thinking. 'Taboo, if you give away 100% of the money you make through sales of your organic pads and tampons, how does your business function and grow?'. Good question, smart cookie. At the start of 2018 Taboo hosted a successful crowdfunding campaign, raising the $56,000 required to pay for the first batch of Taboo Sanitary Products branded organic cotton pads and tampons to sell in Australia. The money from the crowdfunding campaign, as well as sales from our merchandise, mean that Taboo is able to be fully financially sustainable. With the profits from the sale of our first batch of products we will be able to buy a bigger second batch, as well as set aside a small amount of funds to run the business (purchasing merchandise, administration, legal and accounting fees, ). The money left over after this process is known as the Net Profit, and this is the amount that is donated One Girl. Not all social enterprises will give away 100% of net profits, but all social enterprises must have a social impact. This means that at this early stage of business, Taboo's team of dedicated and passionate volunteers are unpaid. As the business grows we will eventually pay wages to staff and we are committed to being financially transparent, so when we do start paying wages we'll let you know.

The social enterprise business model isn't an easy path for a small business in its early stages to take, but with a lot of hard work, its one that works for Taboo and enables us to achieve our social goals. We're excited to share Taboo's growth with you over the coming years and promise to share all our milestones with the person that makes it all possible. YOU!

Words by Alicia Franceschini

Leave a comment