The state of social enterprise in Hong Kong
The social enterprise landscape in Hong Kong has evolved rapidly since the Social Enterprise Summit (SES) was first established in 2008. The first wave of social enterprises were characterised by organisations that had their roots in providing employment opportunities for disadvantaged communities. They laid the groundwork, and built public awareness about the role that purpose can play when positioned at the centre of a business’s strategy.
More recently social enterprises have diversified away from this initial cross-subsidy model and now deliver a whole range of products and services that tackle some of the major challenges faced by the city, operating in education, elderly services, the arts and mental health, to name just a few. Social enterprises established in the last five years in Hong Kong are more focused on trading directly with the general public or corporates than with government, and a social enterprise established today in Hong Kong is also more likely to adopt a for-profit legal form. These recent trends are encouraging as they highlight that the social enterprise sector in Hong Kong is entering the mainstream of the Hong Kong economy and starting to address social and environmental issues at scale.