Social Enterprise

What is it ?

A social enterprise is a business that trades for a social and/or environmental purpose. It will have a clear sense of its ‘social mission’:  which means it will know what difference it is trying to make, who it aims to help, and how it plans to do it.  It will bring in most or all of its income through selling goods or services.  And it will also have clear rules about what it does with its profits, reinvesting these to further the ‘social mission’.

Social enterprises come in many shapes and sizes from large national and international businesses to small community based enterprises but they all are

  • businesses that aim to generate their income by selling goods and services, rather than through grants and donations
  • Are set up to specifically make a difference
  • Reinvest the profits they make in their social mission

If you meet or aim to meet these criteria and you have these commitments expressed clearly in your governing documents then you are very probably a social enterprise are ses —- Here is the link to the above information.

  1. Social enterprises operate in a range of industries – Cafe direct is the UK’s largest Fair trade hot drinks company; The Elvis & Kresse Organisation (EaKo) takes industrial waste materials, turns them into stylish luggage and hand bags and donates 50% of the profits to the Fire Fighters Charity; Hill Holt Wood …  ( here is an Example )

Have you ever bought the Big Issue? Read it over a bar of Divine chocolate? Watched Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen? Visited the Eden Project? Shopped at the Co-op?

Well, then you already know a bit about social enterprises: businesses that are changing the world for the better.

Social enterprises are businesses that trade to tackle social problems, improve communities, people’s life chances, or the environment.  They make their money from selling goods and services in the open market, but they reinvest their profits back into the business or the local community.  And so when they profit, society profits.  Scroll down if you want to get technical.

Social enterprises are in our communities and on our high streets – from coffee shops and cinemas, to pubs and leisure centres, banks and bus companies.

Here is the link for the above ……. and also the statement below.


The term ‘social enterprise’ came about from recognition that in the UK and across the world, there were organisations using the power of business to bring about social and environmental change without a single term to unite them.

Since the term started being more widely used in the mid 1990s, there has been a lot of discussion and sometimes confusion about what social enterprise is.  At Social Enterprise UK we feel we must be clear but pragmatic when it comes to defining social enterprise.  Here are what we believe are the characteristics of a social enterprise.


  • Have a clear social and/or environmental mission set out in their governing documents
  • Generate the majority of their income through trade
  • Reinvest the majority of their profits
  • Be autonomous of state
  • Be majority controlled in the interests of the social mission
  • Be accountable and transparent

What is a Current Government Policies ?


Social ventures such as charities, social enterprises and community groups help improve the lives of people, finding long-term solutions for difficult social problems. Like all organisations they need finance to grow. They often find it harder to access this finance than commercial ventures.

The government is seeking to make it easier for them to access finance through social investment – finance provided by people and institutions that are willing to invest for both financial returns and social impact.

Social investment makes an economic difference by employing 2 million people and contributing £55 billion to the economy. It also makes a social impact by helping social ventures expand the work they do. …… Here is a link to the above where i got the information.


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