In a world where businesses are often driven by profit alone, social enterprise offers a refreshing alternative. These businesses prioritize social and environmental impact alongside financial success, making a positive difference in the communities they serve.

However, setting up a social enterprise can be a daunting task, especially without the right support and structure. This is where cooperatives come in. Cooperatives are democratic organizations owned and controlled by their members, and they offer a great way to promote social enterprise.

A prime example of this is the Islamic Cooperative Finance Australia Limited (ICFAL).

ICFAL is a cooperative financial institution based in Australia that provides financial and investment services to its members. Founded in 1998, ICFAL has been promoting social enterprise for over 25 years.

The organization’s mission is to help its members achieve their financial goals while also promoting Islamic ethical principles, social responsibility, and community development. ICFAL has grown significantly over the years and now has over 4,600 members and manages $55 million in investment funds.

ICFAL promotes social enterprise is through its financing services. The organization offers its members the opportunity to invest and help community members achieve their goal of obtaining truly interest free financing.

By investing, ICFAL members are supporting other members obtain financing that align with their values. In return the profit generated from the financing activities are returned back to the members.

ICFAL also promotes social enterprise through its democratic structure. As a cooperative, ICFAL is owned and controlled by its members. This means that members have a say in how the organization is run and can democratically elect the board of directors.

This structure ensures that ICFAL is accountable to its members and that its decisions reflect the values and priorities of its membership. This democratic structure also promotes transparency, as members have access to information about the organization’s finances, governance, and decision-making processes.

Overall, ICFAL is a great case study on how the cooperative structure promotes social enterprise. The organization’s investment services, community development initiatives, and democratic structure all contribute to its success in promoting social and economic benefit to the community.

By prioritizing social responsibility and community development alongside financial sustainability, ICFAL is setting an example for other businesses to follow. It shows that it is possible to achieve financial success while also making a positive impact in the communities we serve.

In conclusion, cooperatives offer a great way to promote social enterprise. By prioritizing democratic ownership and control, cooperatives can ensure that their decisions reflect the values and priorities of their members. This structure also promotes transparency and accountability, which are essential for promoting social responsibility and community development.

ICFAL is a great example of how the cooperative structure can be used to promote social and economic benefit to the community. Its success shows that it is possible to achieve financial success while also making a positive impact in the world.