Market trends in social enterprise in 2019

The research report, published by CEEDR at Middlesex University Business School, focuses on market trends in social enterprises in 2019. Despite its age, the report still provides valuable insights into these trends. It identifies trends for achieving success, such as the increasing use of digital technology, innovative business models, partnerships and alliances, and emphasis on operational transparency and impact evaluation. The report also highlights common challenges faced by social enterprises, including insufficient funding, regulatory complexity, and the need for improved ecosystems.

It’s important to note that the report does not account for the changes brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, certain trends and challenges have become more prominent in the post-pandemic era, such as new market demands, accelerated adoption of digital technology, sustainability concerns, and funding and resource pressures.

Digital platforms and social enterprises

When comparing this report to a 2020 publication by the European Union on social economy and digital platforms, it becomes evident that digital technology, tools, and platforms are closely intertwined with market trends and challenges for social enterprises. The pandemic has further emphasized the importance of digital technology, as it enables effective resource management, operational monitoring, decision-making, and communication for social enterprises. Digital channels, including social media, collaborative platforms, and digital marketing tools, offer opportunities to engage with target audiences, expand influence, and build a strong brand image.

Moreover, digital platforms and online markets provide avenues for social enterprises to expand their customer base, find partners, and conduct business globally. They facilitate seamless connections, collaboration, and knowledge sharing. Digital technology plays a crucial role in all three trends mentioned in the report: innovative business models, establishing partnerships and alliances and ensuring operational transparency, financial accountability, and impact evaluation.


However, it’s important to address the challenges posed by funding constraints, digital literacy gaps, and data privacy risks. Some social enterprises may struggle to invest in expensive digital tools and platforms due to financial limitations. Efforts should be made to provide training and support to enhance digital skills and literacy. Additionally, the integration of digital technology requires careful consideration of data privacy and security concerns.

From an organizational management perspective, integrating digital technology has transformed the internal operations of social enterprises. Incorporating digital tools into the business model and enhancing employee skills are crucial for successful digital transformation. Externally, relationships established through digital technology, such as partnerships and data sharing, face governance issues and disruptive impacts due to rapid technological advancements. It’s essential to adapt to emerging digital trends and evolving customer expectations.


In conclusion, social enterprises must adapt digital technology, tools, and platforms to align with market changes and meet the demands of the evolving landscape. Operational plans should be digitally focused and innovative from the outset, allowing for long-term development and flexibility. A comprehensive digital framework and deployment strategy that can respond to market changes and innovative business models are necessary. Managing digital social innovation has become a crucial mission for social enterprise operators.