Enterprise software giant Salesforce has caused a storm of protest by attempting to trademark the term ‘social enterprise’.
And a Dorset charity is throwing its weight behind a not-in-our-name campaign to put pressure on the American firm to drop its application.
“We are disappointed that Salesforce is attempting to trademark the term ‘social enterprise’,” says Lucy Culkin, business development manager at Sequal Solutions, the social enterprise linked to Bournemouth-based charity BCHA which provides help with housing, learning and living to homeless adults and young people.
“Over the past couple of years we have worked hard, along with others in the sector, to widen the public’s knowledge about what a social enterprise is and the benefit of these organisations to the local community.
“If Salesforce was successful in its bid, we feel it would undermine all this hard work and confuse people.”
Social enterprises – businesses that put community and environmental aims before profits – are angry that Salesforce is attempting to trademark the term in the EU, US and Jamaica, arguing that companies in the information technology sector looking for new ways to connect with customers, partners and employees are empowering them with what the company calls “social enterprise technologies”.
However, Peter Holbrook, chief executive of Social Enterprise UK, said Salesforce “seems to fundamentally misunderstand what social enterprises are”.
Sequal Solutions is backing the efforts to challenge the bid.
“We are supporting Social Enterprise UK’s campaign in the hope Salesforce will listen and reconsider its attempt to trademark social enterprise,” says Lucy Culkin.
“It has taken a long time for the industry to establish this term as a way of recognising the social benefit and value of organisations operating as social enterprises. If Salesforce is successful it will undervalue everyone’s hard work over the last few years and most likely endanger the future progress of the social enterprise sector.”
By Nick Churchill, Seeker