We get asked this a lot. In short it is a business whose social aims are at the core and are prioritised over profits.
A social enterprise is an organisation that applies commercial strategies to maximise improvements in economic, social and environmental well-being—this may include maximising social impact alongside profits or instead of profits. Social enterprises can be structured as a for-profit or non-profit, and may take the form of a co-operative, mutual organization, a disregarded entity, a social business, a benefit corporation, a community interest company, a company limited by guarantee or a charity organisation. They can also take more conventional structures.
What differentiates social enterprises from other organisations is that their social mission is as core to their success as any potential profit.