There seems to be two ideas about what constitutes a Social Enterprise. One is that it is a business that trades with a social purpose. We can see charity shops fit easily into that view - they raise money for the charity. We might also stretch the idea to include such big names as the Body Shop which has a clear social purpose of not using animals in testing. The second idea is that it is about structure and governance, a business that is not for personal profit.
Perhaps though it is about concept, about doing business in a new way. Many people are fed up with the sky high salaries and bonuses "earned" in big business and yearn to see business working in ways closer to the communities that they serve, businesses that seek to narrow the gap between those who lead and manage the business and those on the front line or production line. It's about a new ethic for the 21st century, a way that distances itself from the ways of the past, a way that values everyone, a way that moves away from zero hours contracts and minimum wages, whilst recognising that for some people zero hours work as it allows flexibility.
I see social enterprise as a way forward as we move into what may be a post capitalist world - more on that later.