Social Enterprise and the Homeless

In this Podcast the focus is on homelessness and unemployment. In doing so, the hope is to draw out the inherent tensions between social and economic goals, and to understand ways in which social enterprises can balance these in order to achieve their social goals.


Simon Teasdale who has been involved in the field of social enterprise for 15 years, beginning at the Big Issue in the North in the early 1990s, presents this podcast. Since then he has been employed as a researcher at the Institute for Volunteering Research and Crisis, while lecturing part time on the University of East London’s BA Social Enterprise. He moved to Birmingham in 2009 to take up a position as research fellow within Third Sector Research Centre who has helped us developed our podcasts and events around social enterprise and marginalised groups. It is introduced by Francis Sealey of GlobalNet21.

Social enterprises have achieved widespread recognition over the last decade. In England the notion that social enterprises successfully combine social and commercial goals led to them being given a prominent role in a range of policy area.

This has been particularly apparent in the homelessness field where a policy discourse presents social enterprise as a way to help homeless people access secure employment and so escape social exclusion

The implication is that by pursuing profit maximizing behaviour social enterprises can address homelessness while generating a surplus from their trading activities that can be reinvested in the business or used for other mission-related purposes.

It is important to note the strong policy message that employment is the sustainable solution to homelessness, and that work integration social enterprises are primarily placed as a vehicle that can facilitate this solution

In developing this Podcast we are working with the Third Sector Research Centre (TSRC).A national research centre co-funded by OCS, ESRC and Barrow Cadbury Trust and hosted by the Universities of Birmingham and Southampton, to offer third sector organisations and policy-makers access and input into robust research, aiming to bridge the gap between research and the third sector. The TSRC Social Enterprise research stream is led by Middlesex University in collaboration with researchers from the University of Birmingham to undertaken a programme of research exploring the contribution of social enterprise to social cohesion.