The key element distinguishing a social enterprise from other ones is its purpose. If the primary purpose of the particular company is to create a social impact (such as addressing a social problem or a problem affecting the environment) instead of being exclusively profit-oriented, then the company may be considered a social enterprise.
The social economy principle is fulfilled:
- If the services or goods are primarily intended for the vulnerable or socially excluded or if these people are the employees of the enterprise
- If the services are of a preventive nature, such as services in the sphere of pre-school education and care, health sciences and prevention of diseases, lifelong education, sustainable development, or integration into the labour market