The number of social enterprises in the UK continues to rise. According to government data* there are over 70,000 social enterprises employing over 1 million people. More and more social entrepreneurs are intent on improving their communities and are setting up organisations to do just that. If you are intending to follow this path here are five considerations for you.
1. What business structure should you give your social enterprise?
There are a number of different options available: Limited company, Charitable Incorporated Organisation, Community Interest Company, Co-operative, Sole trader, business partnership, Industrial or provident society, charity. You can find out more on the different structures here and get advice on which is right for you here.
2. How will the social enterprise survive financially?
Social enterprises reinvest their profits into the community they serve. In order to sustain themselves on an ongoing basis there must be a viable business model that generates profits. How will you actually generate profits to achieve your social mission? There are many examples of retail outlets such as cafes and shops being the basis for profit generation in social enterprises. Which model will be right for you? There are also funding sources for social enterprises for more info on funding sources click here.
3. What is your social mission?
The desire to do some good is to be commended but you will need to get very specific if you are to be successful. Exactly what will be your social mission? Focus on one particular issue in one area rather than trying to solve all of the world’s injustices. Create a summary of your stated aims.
4. What will be the social impact and how will I measure it?
Your potential success is inextricably linked to your ability to define your social mission and to measure the social impact of the work that you are doing. Social impact is the effect your activity is having on the community that you are serving. An evidenced based approach that focuses on the desired outcomes will be the best approach. You can learn more about evaluating social impact here.
5. Are there already other social enterprises doing the work you intend to do?
If there are already social enterprises addressing your specific vision in your area it may be worth amending your vision. The benefit will be that together you can increase your social impact. An informal partnership with co-ordination between the two organisations may be appropriate.
We hope you have found this information useful. If you have any questions relating to this post feel free to give us a call on +44 (0) 207 148 6720 or email via firstname.lastname@example.org to start the conversation.
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Impact Hub Westminster Team
*Social Enterprise Market Trends – Based upon the BIS Small Business Survey 2012