Markets and socialism have been strange bedfellows since the start of the industrial revolution, and until recently, most of us have considered them mutually exclusive states of affairs. That is about to change. A third dimension is slowly finding its place in traditional market dichotomy—a dimension that includes social business, impact investing, and now social stock exchanges (SSEs).
Social businesses, in their many forms, have been around for a while, but the latest trend seems to be SSEs—trading platforms listing only social businesses. Using SSEs, investors can buy shares in a social business just as investors focused solely on profit would do in the traditional stock market. An investor would come to a SSE to find a social business with a mission according to his or her preference. This is great news for all players in the industry (including governments, multilateral financing institutions, community organizations, development agencies, and social entrepreneurs), and countries like Canada, the UK, Singapore, South Africa, Brazil, and Kenya have already opened their doors to their very own social stock exchanges.