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There is no universal definition of social enterprise (SE). In general, an SE is a business to achieve specific social objectives such as providing the services (for example support service for the elderly) or products needed by the community, creating employment and training opportunities for the socially disadvantaged, protecting the environment, funding its other social services through the profits earned, etc. Its profits will be principally reinvested in the business for the social objectives that it pursues. In other words, the primary objective of an SE is to achieve its social objectives, rather than maximizing profits for distribution to its shareholders. This above description of SE has been adopted by the Home Affairs Bureau (HAB) for supporting general or sector-wide promotion activities for SE.


When the Government introduces measures to provide direct support to individual SEs, the relevant eligibility criteria will be applied. In this regard, the Government may refer to the following definition adopted by some local and overseas SE organisations - “An SE is a business targeted to achieve specific social objectives through entrepreneurial strategies and self-sustaining operations, and not less than 65% of its distributable profits are reinvested in the business for the social objectives that it pursues.”


The Government is committed to promoting the development of SEs to create employment opportunities for the socially disadvantaged to help them to be self-reliant, and to provide a channel for different sectors and organisations to meet the needs of different community groups with innovative approaches, so as to foster a new caring culture and enhance social harmony.