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Just what exactly is a social enterprise? More clarity needed, NUS researchers say

Published on Jun 3, 2014 9:22 PM

SINGAPORE - The term "social enterprise" pops up more in the media these days - from 36 articles in The Straits Times and The Business Times in 2008 to 169 in 2013 - but not everyone is clear about what is a social enterprise, say researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS).

Greater clarity is needed in the use of the term, said researchers from the Asia Centre for Social Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy, an arm of the NUS business school, at the launch of a paper titled Landscape Of Social Enterprises in Singapore on Tuesday.

Companies such as T-Ware, a firm which specialises in creating therapy jackets for people with autism, call themselves social enterprises. As do firms like GrabTaxi. It allows users to call a cab via their app and offers taxi drivers extra income when they accept a certain number of jobs.

"We need more clarity - investors and consumers need to know what they are getting themselves into when they say that they support a social enterprise," said the centre's research associate Roshini Prakash, who wrote the paper with colleague Pauline Tan.

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