After analyzing hundreds of ethical and sustainable brands, Rianne Klein Geltink found that there was a pattern of business models for social enterprises. We picked her brain to bring you a guide of the 4’S models which can be incredibly useful if you were planning to start your ethical brand, and make it sustainable from day one, whether you are Selling, Sourcing, Staffing or Sharing.
1. SELLING business model for social enterprises
The selling business model happens when your community of service is the same as the community of customers (to whom you sell the products).
Mohammad Younes, considered the founding father of social entrepreneurship, well used the selling business model when he founded Grameen Bank, the bank for the poor, by offering microcredit to women in India to eventually raise the middle class, and so, the economy of the country.
2. SOURCING business model for social enterprises
The sourcing business model is when you buy from your community of service and you sell to your community of customers.
Your community of service from which you source from could be the farmers, an ethical market or any place you’d like to support for being aligned with your business ethics, and also for being a key shareholder for you to offer the final product or service. You also buy from these people because you’d like to uplift them and support the work they do. You buy directly from them, with no intermediaries.
3. STAFFING business model for social enterprises
Under the staffing business model, you employ people from your community of service who help you create a product that will be sold to your community of customers. You want to build back their confidence and/or give them a fair source of income.
4. SHARING business model for social enterprises
Under the sharing business model, you give back part of your profits (generated by selling to your community of customers) to your community of service usually through working together with an NGO or charity. It can be done by:
Sharing Business Model with PRODUCTS
Sharing Business Model with NATURAL RESOURCES or CLIMATE ACTION
Sharing Business Model with DONATIONS