Development and challenges of social enterprises in Taiwan-from the perspective of community development

Yung Chang Wu, Yenchun Jim Wu*, Shiann Ming Wu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Social enterprises (SEs) have formed a naturally conscientious atmosphere in Taiwan, which has not only diluted the boundary between society and enterprises, but also transformed the inherent thinking of nonprofit organizations (NPOs). SEs operate under cross-organizational and cross-departmental models. For years, the rapid economic development of Taiwan has focused on the pursuit of profit without focusing on the development of NPOs. Only after the economy began to slow down did society gradually see a new trend based on the concept of SEs and the cultivation of community self-sufficiency to solve social problems. Its successful implementation is of great significance to the sustainable development of Taiwan. Community industry is based on the community and it is people-oriented. From the perspective of sustainable development, community industry is invested in economic activities and creates multiple benefits to a sustainable community and to social, environmental, cultural, financial, and other developments. From the early "production and welfare construction" to the "new hometown overall construction policy", Taiwan has placed emphasis on inherent local industry activation, such as the establishment of local industrial exchange centers, local industry sustainable mechanism construction, local characteristic small community enterprises, as well as economic plans, including "Sustainable Employment Hope Project" and "Diverse Employment Development Program", promoted by the Labor Commission since 2001. All of these are focused on building and developing a community industry, and relevant authorities look forward to the vitality of the community industry to create more job opportunities and community interests. Based on literature review of social enterprise, this paper leads small- and medium-sized community industries to meet the development of business models from the economic perspective of commercialization and the social perspective of social innovation in order to solve the quality crisis that is faced by nonprofit organizations and to maintain the sustainable development of the enterprise. By the design of a nonprofit and mutual-assistance mechanism, poverty relief results can be obtained. SEs, which are similar to regular enterprises, can encounter challenging business environments and they must also possess the ability to assume business risks. Specifically, SEs must consider the dual goals of having a social mission while achieving economic goals. This study provides a detailed understanding of the existence and operational characteristics of SEs in Taiwan.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1797
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2018 May 30


  • Community industries
  • Social economy
  • Social enterprise
  • Taiwan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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