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If you are thinking of starting a Social Enterprise in the UK we can help. We enjoy supporting entrepreneurs who share values in commitment to social causes. We believe that your business and your cause will make a difference to the sustainability of our planet, our society and our way of life. Starting a social enterprise means you will make you a part of a network of 70,000 plus social enterprises across the UK. 

What is a Social Enterprise?

Being a social enterprise means that while you operate your business as normal, you re-invest at least 50% of your profits into social causes. What you choose to do to create your profits is entirely up to you and what causes you choose to re-invest at least 50% of your profits into, is also entirely up to you. 

  • A Social Enterprise must have a SOCIAL MISSION 
  • A Social Enterprise must be TRADING FOR PROFITS
  • A Social Enterprise must be re-investing at least 50% off it’s PROFITS INTO ITS ACHIEVING ITS SOCIAL MISSION 
  • A Social Enterprise should be INDEPENDENTLY OWNED but does not exist to maximise shareholders wealth. 
  • A Social Enterprise must measure its SOCIAL IMPACT.

What kind of Legal Structure do you need to choose?

Because you are running your business selling goods and service to the open market, you are able to choose from a number of business structures. Many Social Enterprises choose to start off as sole traders and move on to choose a legal structure at a later stage.  Social enterprises may however take a variety of legal forms and the process for establishing one will depend on which legal form is chosen.

As with any business, there are some key advantages for social enterprises in choosing an incorporated legal form: such forms have a separate legal personality and limited liability for investors. Incorporation is advisable, and often necessary, where businesses are taking on significant contractual obligations or raising external capital

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There are a number of options available to you in terms of legal structures. Most social enterprises may be established as a Company Limited by Shares or Limited by Guarantee.

Find Support and Funding for your Social Enterprise

School for Social Entrepreneurs – The School for Social Entrepreneurs to get access to learning programmes and support for social startups. The SSE also offers grants.


UnLtd – Get access to a range of grants and advice for social entreprises at the pre-start up and established phases of their social entrepreneurship.


NatWest Social & Community Capital – Natwest bank’s independent charity which can provide bigger loans between £30,000 and £750,000. They also offer business support to social enterprises who are unable to access mainstream funding. 


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