Social Enterprise

Social Enterprise

What is a Social Enterprise?

If you already operate a Social Enterprise or want to start a Social Enterprise you need a law firm which really understands your needs.

A Social Enterprise is an organisation with a difference. It differs from ordinary businesses because its aim is to provide a benefit to the community rather than to its owners or operators. Its surplus funds are either invested back into the Social Enterprise or the community. The aim of a Social Enterprise is not to generate profit for its owners but to maximise benefits to the community or a section of the community.

The phrase “Social Enterprise” is a catch all term to describe lots of different types of organisations which operate for the good of society. The same as the word “business” includes sole traders, partnerships and companies.

Types of Social Enterprise

Social Enterprises do not have to take a particular legal form. This means that there are many different types of Social Enterprise. Types of Social Enterprise include:

  • Unincorporated associations
  • Companies and Community interest companies
  • Trusts
  • Industrial and provident societies
  • (from 2011) Charitable Incorporated Organisation
  • Project based joint ventures and partnering arrangements

The form your Social Enterprise takes may depend on considerations such as what you want to do, stakeholder involvement, funding and tax efficiency.

Examples

Social Enterprises can be small local concerns or national organisations. A few examples of common services provided by Social Enterprises are:

  • childcare services
  • community projects such as pop-in centres
  • regeneration projects
  • training and educational providers
  • leisure service providers

In addition, Social Enterprises and Social Entrepreneurs will be at the core of the Local Government reorganisation plans with services and functions being transferred to existing or specially set up Social Enterprises.

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