"Why should we undertake social enterprise?" is a critical question asked by many nonprofits; less explored is its twin, "How?" A study of three women's social purpose businesses in the U.S. (Appalachian By Design, El Puente Community Development Corporation, and Childspace Management Group) reveals that their longevity is due, in part, to three practices: they accommodate the complexity of women's social responsibilities; they enable workers to assume the duties of managers; and they make job quality a matter of paramount importance.
"Each SPB met three simple measures of effectiveness. It had grown to a mid-sized organization (40-50 staff). It had some longevity (one was 16 years old, one was nine, and the youngest was five). Finally, it had received recognition for its work from regional or national organizations. This was an exploratory study, designed to help determine the scope of subsequent, more definitive research into the three ventures."