Help build our understanding so we can help social enterprises reach their potential

Every social enterprise faces a dual task of running a business in a competitive environment and addressing the core social or environmental mission at the heart of their operation. To succeed, it is vital that social enterprises are working as efficiently and effectively as possible.

However, we need to better understand the challenges facing distinctive social enterprise models if we are to provide relevant support, guidance, and advice, so that they may improve their operational capacity.

To build our understanding of this issue, Social Enterprise UK (SEUK) is collaborating with Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) to collect evidence.

We will do this through Balance, a performance diagnostic & strategic management toolkit, designed and overseen by MMU, that asks social enterprises – ‘what capabilities do you have?’

Balance provides an opportunity to respond across 7 key areas from stakeholder perspectives, multi-bottom line, internal activities, learning, income diversification, governance and visioning to questions tailored to understanding your organisation’s capabilities. It can then identify areas of strength and weakness and offer an appropriate strategy on how to improve – using an Action Plan to support change.

You can learn more about Balance here.

We will then work with MMU to collate the findings and identify the most common challenges facing social enterprises when it comes to boosting their capacity. This will inform a short report mapping out what can be done to support social enterprises reach their potential.

We are asking our members who are interest to participate by completing the Balance toolkit questionnaire. All data collected will be confidentially held by MMU and SEUK, with anonymised findings informing the report.

If you would like to complete the Balance toolkit, or hear more about this project, please contact the MMU team at