The social enterprise is, fundamentally, about using a market-driven business model to address social issues. These models can be expanded or replicated to other communities to generate more impact. At our social enterprise, we aspire to create a similar model.
Frequently Asked Question
What is social enterprise
We believe the key distinguishing features of genuine social enterprises are:
- Trading primarily for social purposes, as articulated in governing documents
- Committed to reinvest profits and income in achieving social objectives, taking priority over maximizing profits for shareholders
- Demonstrating that social objectives are being achieved
- Independently owned/controlled
Social enterprises operate in almost every industry, from health and social care to renewable energy, from retail to recycling, from employment to sport, from housing to education. Whatever they do, they do it differently from typical businesses, because they are driven by a social and environmental mission, and they are focused on the needs of the communities they serve.
What data is available on Social Enterprises
Government figures estimate that there are 70,000 social enterprises in the UK, contributing £24billion to the economy and employing close to 1 million people.
Recent data from Social Enterprise shows the social enterprise sector is thriving – it is outperforming its mainstream small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) counterparts in almost every area of business:
- turnover growth
- workforce growth and job creation
- business optimism
- start-up rates
- diversity in leadership
How do you get set up
There are no barriers to starting your own social enterprise. However, as there is no legal definition of a social enterprise, any organization can call themselves social enterprises if they choose, regardless of whether they meet any criteria to prove they operate in the interest of wider society.
If you’re planning to set up a social enterprise, we recommend that you seek professional advice to guide you.
What is Social enterprise mark
The Social Enterprise Mark is the only internationally available accreditation that independently guarantees that a business operates as a true social enterprise, with the central aim of using income and profits to maximize the social benefits created, which takes precedent over generating personal profits for owners or shareholders.
The Mark is proof that a social enterprise has a distinct motivation for being in business – trading to serve social purposes. It safeguards the integrity of credible social enterprises, by guaranteeing a social enterprise is creating benefits for people and the planet through business.