Supreme is a social business and aims to create social impact, in a financially self-sustainable way.
The aim of Supreme is to create impact, rather than personal gain or profits. The mission of Supreme is to produce affordable high quality products which improve the living standards of Malawian women and girls, and support the local economy throughout the entire production and sales process.
Supreme adheres to the following social business principles:
- The business objective is focused on social problems (such as education, equality, health, technology access).
- Supreme's products are made in a gender sensitive and environmentally conscious environment.
- Our workforce gets above market wage and stimulating working conditions.
- We invest in the general well-being and development of the staff.
- Our aim is to create good-value-for-money products, in which we have become quite successful.
- We value financial and economic sustainability.
- The company profit is used for expansion and improvement so we can create a bigger impact.
The term Social business was defined by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus.
A social business is:
- Created and designed to address a social problem
- A non-loss, non-dividend company*
* It is financially self-sustainable and profits realized by the business are reinvested in the business itself (or used to start other social businesses), with the aim of increasing social impact, for example expanding the company’s reach, improving the products or services or in other ways subsidizing the social mission.
There are big distinctions between a non-profit, a social business and a for-profit business.
Unlike a profit-maximizing business, the prime aim of a social business is to create impact, not to maximize profits (although generating profits is desired to create a sustainable way to expand the social impact). Furthermore, business owners are not receiving any dividend out of the business profits, if any. Business strategies are used to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being.
On the other hand, unlike a non-profit, a social business is not dependent on donations or on private or public grants to survive and to operate, because, as any other business, it is self-sustainable. Furthermore, unlike a non-profit, where funds are spent only once on the field, funds in a social business are invested to increase and improve the business' operations on the field on an indefinite basis.
Philosophically, social business is based on what Yunus identifies as the two basic motives of human beings; selfishness and selflessness. Selfishly, people do seek profit through business; however, social business is also based on the latter motive people by performing philanthropic services, like establishing churches, mosques, synagogues, art museums, public parks, health clinics or community centers. For Yunus, the profits made through a social business's operations are less important than the beneficial effects it has on society.