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WHAT IS A social enterprise?

Social Enterprises (or socially impactful businesses, social start-ups, social purpose organisastions) are typically SMEs – often start-ups – who solve social or environmental issues in their communities through the sale of products and services, thus generating commercial revenue to carry out their impactful activities. These activities can be hiring people who struggle to find employment (providing additional training and support), manufacturing a product and sourcing ethically throughout the supply chain, through to supporting disadvantaged communities to improve their situation in some way.  The main difference is that because they exist to solve their identified social or environmental issue, and they typically re-invest the majority of their profits back into delivering their mission instead of lining shareholders pockets. Often community organisations, they are not solely relliant on grants or funding (like charities and non profits are) and so they offer a more sustainable way of doing business ‘for good’ and we believe they are the solution to the UK funding crisis.

Useful resources and courses:

UnLtd – the foundation for social entrepreneurs in the UK with grants to support you along the way

Skoll Foundation – Behind the Skoll Awards and the Skoll World Forum there are some great youtube videos to get inspired by successsful global changemakers

The School For Social Entrepreneurs  Various programmes & workshops to suit social entrepreneurs at the different stages in their journey

EY Foundation – Accelerate programme for social entrepreneurs 18-30 years old

Acumen – free courses in Design Thinking and Social Impact

British Council – resources for aspriring social entrepreneurs

Expert Impact – free mentor support from successful entrepreneurs

Year Here – post-graduate year long programme for aspiring social entrepreneurs

On Purpose – supporting those who feel stuck in a corporate career who want to transition into a career in social enterprise

Allia Serious Impact – additional business support for enterprises based in east London, Cambridge & Peterborough (United Kingdom)