Social Enterprise Places are areas where social enterprise activity is thriving. From quarters, towns, cities and zones – areas around the UK are declaring themselves as social enterprise places committed to investing in the sector. 

Social Enterprise UK is recognising these hotspots of social enterprise activity by awarding them with the Social Enterprise Place badge, celebrating their achievements and supporting them to grow.  

Registered Social Enterprise Places will be supported to reach out to and involve local councils, businesses, charities, consumers and budding social entrepreneurs –  bringing them together to grow their social enterprise communities.

The programme aims to promote, raise awareness, and build the markets for social enterprise at a local and national level.

Commenting on Oxfordshire being named a Social Enterprise Place the former Prime Minister Rt. Hon. David Cameron, said:

“It’s fantastic that Oxfordshire is the first county to become a Social Enterprise Place – a beacon of social enterprise activity. Social enterprises trade to tackle some of the greatest challenges we face, from unemployment to food waste. It is a great way to raise awareness of the vital and growing role social enterprises play in our economy and local communities in Oxfordshire and across the country.”

Gareth Hart – Chair of the Plymouth Social Enterprise Network commented on the impact the Programme has had on Plymouth:

“Plymouth’s Social Enterprise City badge has helped to lever in over £6 million of investment and support for social enterprises in the city from national and local sources. It led to the Council developing commissioning and procurement policies for social value and has seen national organisations like Power to Change, Esmée Fairbairn, Rank Foundation and Big Society Capital coming to, and investing in Plymouth. The Social Enterprise City concept has undoubtedly helped achieve a huge amount for the city but it is still a brand with more potential.”

There are now 32 accredited Places in the UK

Find out more about each of them here.

How can my area become a Social Enterprise Place? 

Any area can apply for recognition, but you to be a Social Enterprise Place it must have:

  • Significant social enterprise activity
  • Established a Social Enterprise Place stakeholder group. The group is a collection of individuals and representatives of organisations who come together to represent their area.  There is no set model for the steering group – it can be formed and organised in a way that works best for your area. Some Places may have existing networks in place, whereas others may be formed especially for the Social Enterprise Places programme.  

To find out more and to apply click here

Building inclusive and resilient social economies

Over the last three years, the Places Programme has grown from an idea from one of Social Enterprise UK’s members to a growing network of 20 places across the UK with reach of over 5.4million people. It’s even started to spread internationally.

This report looks in more depth at the activity and effects of the programme from April 2014 to September 2016. In particular, it looks at:

  • initial aggregate numbers
  • impact of town drives & events
  • outcomes associated with the status and recognition
  • qualitative learning and findings into ‘what helps create a social enterprise place?’
  • recommendations for those seeking to build local, resilient social economies

Download the report here

We are delighted that as of April 2018, NatWest have come on board as principle supporter of Social Enterprise Places and we look forward to working with them to help grow and develop the programme.

Commenting on the news Peter Holbrook Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK said: 

“We are delighted to announce NatWest as the official partner of the Social Enterprise Places Programme and look forward to working with them to further develop this important initiative. Social enterprises throughout the country are showing us a different way of doing business – they are creating jobs where they are needed most and helping regenerate local communities. At a time where we’re seeing ever-increasing divisions and inequalities, Social Enterprise Places are demonstrating what a fairer, more sustainable economy can look like.”

Mark Parsons, Head of Community Finance & Social Enterprise Business Banking NatWest added: 

“NatWest is proud to officially support the Social Enterprise Places Programme. We have a long history of working with social enterprises and supporting the sector is an integral part of our strategy to make a positive difference to local communities. Our Community Finance team is dedicated to helping businesses with a social purpose and through the Places Programme we hope to further strengthen the social enterprise sector, helping them to bank safely and securely, and ensuring that local social enterprises can develop and thrive.”

The Places Programme is supported by People’s Postcode Lottery

The first three year’s of the Places Programme was sponsored by NatWest and Santander whose support was invaluable in enabling the Programmes’ growth and development. 

If you’re interested in supporting the next stage of the Programme as it expands across the UK and internationally please contact