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Do employment-focused social enterprises provide a pathway out of disadvantage? An evidence review

Social enterprises are businesses led by a social mission that derive the majority of their income from trade and reinvest the majority of their profit or surplus into pursuing this mission. Employment-focused social enterprises aim to provide employment or create employment pathways and work readiness for people at risk of exclusion from the mainstream labour market or facing barriers to mainstream employment. This report considers the available evidence on whether and how employment acts as a pathway out of disadvantage for individuals and communities. The authors consider current macro-economic and labour market conditions and their implications for access to employment for people who experience disadvantage. Following this, they review the evidence available on the employment outcomes of employment-focused social enterprises, their effectiveness, challenges and opportunities. After discussing the implications for effective philanthropy, the review concludes with a consideration of impact measurement and employment outcome indicators for employment-focused social enterprises.

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