Overview of Community and Social Enterprise

Community and social enterprises have been around for many years, but there is still confusion as to what a social enterprise is. There are many different models including for example:

  • Community development trusts
  • Cooperatives and mutual organisations
  • Trading charities

A social enterprise is a business model. It has a social purpose and trades [either goods or services] and aims to make a profit. The profit is re-invested in the enterprise’s social purpose.

The definition according to the Department for Trade and Industry [DTI] [now BEIS] 2002 ‘a social enterprise is a business 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 maximize profit for shareholders and owners’.

In order to achieve the Social Enterprise Mark the organisation would need to demonstrate and prove that it:

  • Traded and earned more than 50% of its income from trading activity
  • Re-invested at least 51% of its profit into its social mission
  • Locked  its assets  into its social purpose

Most people will know a social enterprise, but perhaps don’t know it themselves, here are a few examples:

Find out some more and have a look at the collection of ‘Social Enterprise in Motion’ videos here and see the ‘Trailblazers’ video here

Some Solihull based Social Enterprises are:

Social Enterprise is further explained in these two very useful documents: