History of social enterprises in Bristol

Bristol has always had a strong sense of ethics, a solid apporach to business and a creative approach to economic and civic development. Building on the foundations of a strong social economy and Co-op movement, first supported by Bristol City Council’s leading C3 project and infrastructure organisations such as Social Enterprise Works and Avon CDA, Bristol’s Social Enterprise Sector now produces innovative community scale enterprise and  scalable social ventures – effecting change in regional, national and international markets. With the growth of Triodos Bank, the developing Bristol Bond ‘Backing our Bristol’, Bristol Pound and a range of ethical finance providers we have the largest social finance sector outside of London.

Current social enterprise landscape in Bristol 

Bristol is a fertile environment for social business – through social enterprises, co-ops, social ventures and the cross sector civic stakeholders playing a growing role in market development, support, resourcing and partnership for growth and social impact. The baseline mapping of the sector in late 2012 showed a (City-Region) sector with £378m turnover, employing 11,000 people comprised of at least 600 enterprises.

In recent years we’ve seen significant growth in community scale social enterprises such as Coexist CIC and more scalable social ventures such as Bristol Together and Sponsorcraft/ Hubbub. Our strengths lie in regeneration, youth, social housing and custom build, energy, health and social care and food.

Key objectives

1. Support growth and market development – social business in Bristol has a strong offer – providing entrepreneurial solutions to key civic challenges. Together we’ll work to access existing opportunities and develop new markets.

2. Attract new finance and funding – with the right support to resource growth and innovation. National opportunities for social business are growing – together we’ll connect Bristol City-Region

3. Mobilise City-Region civic stakeholders to achieve mutual aims. – Use of Social Enterprise City Plan to build on cross sector partnerships  with Housing Associations, Local Authorities, Higher Education and large private business to scale social business models and address civic challenges.

Bristol Energy Co-op 

Stakeholder Group

  • Social Enterprise Works
  • Bristol and Bath Social Enterprise Network
  • Bristol Community Health
  • Quartet Community Foundation
  • Bristol University
  • Emmaus Bristol
  • University of the West of England
  • Re Work Ltd
  • School for Social Entrepreneurs
  • Bristol Pound
  • Alliance Homes

Buy Social

Bristol & Bath Social Enterprise Network

Social Enterprise Directory – Hosted by Social Enterprise Works

Contact Details

Website: Bristol & Bath Social Enterprise Network 

Email: Bristol & Bath Social Enterprise Network