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In the category of least-well-anchored conversations in the sector, I would say that discussions of social enterprise, a vague term used interchangeably apparently with social innovation, win the grand prize. The latest proof of its staying power as a unboundaried mess comes from this Inc. Magazine article, which starts out as a kind of love letter to Chicago’s entrepreneurial community and to its unique personality, which the writer describes as being somewhere in the middle between New York’s impatient grittiness and Los Angeles’ generalized wackiness, termed here as “eccentric personalities.”
We are given no numbers and the effort is treated as a new, cool concept with no mention of other similar efforts—of which there are many—or more generalized success and failure rates. In other words, as with many social enterprise puff pieces, there is nothing here to look at. Would this pass muster as an Inc. article about a for-profit business? I don’t think so, but you tell me.