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Is Social Enterprise about Justice? 

One of the things we hear with more frequency than is helpful is that social enterprise doesn’t get to the heart of justice work, that its a nice thing to do for people but its not justice. Well, that actually could be true. There are ways of thinking about social enterprise that could be little more than doing something nice for someone. But, there is a great opportunity present in social enterprise to engage the work of justice—making things right— in new and creative ways. 

When you consider just how many justice issues are driven by economic factors, and consider the larger economic culture that we live in, which excludes a massive portion of our population from being able to truly flourish, well, there is quite a lot to do with justice that social enterprise can engage. 

Social enterprise can create small scale alternative economic systems that include folks on the margins. It can serve as a channel of wealth from historically advantaged communities to historically disadvantaged ones. It can create community owned business to allow vulnerable neighborhoods to become more self-sufficient. It can serve as a platform for advocating for those who get labeled and marginalized in the workforce (e.g. returning citizens). It can also serve as a prophetic picture for the kind of society that would be more just through hiring practices, structure and cultural DNA. 

These are just a few of the ways that social enterprise can redress historic injustice. And we believe it is critically important that social enterprise ACTUALLY does that. So, how is your project engaging questions of justice? What are the local expressions of injustice that you can engage with redemptive intent through your project?

About Adam Gustine

Adam Gustine leads CovEnterprises for Love Mercy Do Justice and the Evangelical Covenant Church. He is also the founder of Jubilee Ventures; an economic incubator in South Bend, IN. He and his wife, Ann, live in South Bend with their three kids.

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