Your Guide to Purpose

Your Guide to Purpose

At Ākina we believe that everything starts with purpose. The purpose of your social enterprise will dictate how you run your organisation, who you run it for, and will act as an anchor as you go through the process of creating and refining your idea.

As you develop your idea you may hit challenges that force you to rethink the solution that you were proposing. A strong purpose will ensure that you can continue through these challenges to find a solution that works to truly solve the problem you see in the world. Purpose will define your impact model and your business model.

Purpose and Your Business Model

Your business model describes how you trade to create impact. For example, your purpose might be to generate income to fund charitable work elsewhere. In that case your business model would be directed towards generating as much profit for that purpose as possible. Alternatively if your purpose was to provide training and employment you would be less concerned about generating excess profit, and more focussed on ensure you could provide great opportunities for the people you worked with.

Find out more about business models in our Introduction to Social Enterprise resource.

Purpose and Your Impact Model

Your impact model tells the story of how you change the world through the work of your social enterprise. In your purpose you will have thought about what the problem that you’re trying to solve is. You’ll find that the outcome of your impact model is an improvement in the problem you were trying to solve.

What makes a good Purpose?

There are a couple of things that make a good purpose. It should:
  • Be inspirational
  • Be short
  • Be clear about the problem in the world you are addressing
  • Describe what you will change, more than how you will change it

Your purpose is different from your solution. In most cases your purpose could be achieved through several different solutions. For example, if your purpose was to create meaningful pathways to employment for young people your solution could take different forms:

  • A social enterprise that generates profit to pay for scholarships for tertiary education
  • A training facility that sells food to generate the cash which covers the cost of the training

These options would be considered part of your proposed solution, not part of your purpose. The training facility would be the way you achieved your purpose, rather than being the purpose itself.

What next?

If you have any more specific questions around the purpose of your social enterprise, feel free to contact us at

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