Have you ever bought the Big Issue? Read it over a bar of Divine chocolate with a cup of Cafédirect coffee? Visited the Eden Project? Shopped at the Co-op? 

Well, then you may know more than you realise about social enterprises. Social enterprises are businesses that are changing the world for the better. 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.

How do social enterprises  work?

By selling goods and services in the open market, social enterprises reinvest the money they make back into their business or the local community. This allows them to tackle social problems, improve people’s life chances, support communities and help the environment. So when a social enterprise profits society profits.

Read the short guide - Social Enterprise Explained - to find out more.

According to Social Enterprise UK, social enterprises should:

  • 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

More detail on  these points can be found in the short paper - What makes a social enterprise a social enterprise?