why is there a need for social enterprise and what gap does it fill
Social Enterprises use a business model for social good as opposed to earning profits for shareholders they re-invest surpluses for a variety of reasons, such as provision of jobs for people in a particular community or to create surpluses to use for service provision where there is a need.
The key need for organisations to become Social Enterprises is to ensure that much good work continues as access to grant funding is reduced due to changed priorities and also in the case of community enterprises to free up organisations to enable money to be spent where communities wish/need to spend it, not where funding bodies and local authorities say you can spend.
In terms of filling a gap there are many Social Enterprises that deliver a range of services where they otherwise would not exist, one such example is some community transport companies sub contract to local authorities, thus generating contract income which can then be used to subsidise routes that are not commercially attractive but which are neccessary to improve the quality of life for people for example in rural areas and other areas of low population. Or in the case of credit unions who provide a much needed service for people who are outside the normal banking system often on low incomes or dependant on benefits or people with poor credit ratingswho are vulnerable to loan sharks