What is a social enterprise?

Volunteers Network CIC is a social enterprise. So, what is a social enterprise?

The UK Government definition of social enterprise:

“Businesses 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 maximise profit for shareholders and owners.”

Any activity that benefits our community could evolve into a social enterprise. Perhaps you want to provide opportunities for people who are socially isolated, like arts and crafts or another type of club or group? Perhaps you run an environmental organisation? Perhaps you already run a business but it could become a social enterprise? Whats your big idea?

If you have a business or an idea that will benefit society then considering it as a social enterprise may be beneficial. Charities tend to rely on hand-outs in the form of grants and donations. As a social enterprise however, you can still apply for many grants and accept donations but you can also engage in all sorts of commercial activity which might make your idea more self sustaining.

Social enterprises are more sustainable in our modern society because they can generate revenue in various creative ways, and with cuts to front line services and ever reducing funding for charities we believe that they are the way forward in making improvements within our communities.

In setting up our own community interest company we have lots of information and resources we are happy to share with you. Please feel free to use any of this information in order you help you make a difference with your own social enterprise!