Social enterprises are businesses driven by a social or environmental purpose.

As with all businesses, they compete to deliver goods and services. The difference is that social purpose is at the very heart of what they do and the profits they make are reinvested towards achieving that purpose.

The government defines social enterprises as “businesses with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners.”

Increasingly, some community-based organisations are choosing social enterprise models as a basis for their continuing activity.

If your community organisation is considering new ways to generate income and you think a social enterprise might be an idea worth following up, talk to us to find out how we can help. As well as resources and expertise to enable groups to choose the right legal structure and business model, we can put you in touch with specialist sources of support and other local social enterprises through our networks.

The government has some useful information on how to set up a Social Enterprise – Setting up a social enterprise – GOV.UK (

Or if you need additional support, contact your nearest centre for more details.