There are many shapes, sizes, and types of social enterprise, however there are a few distinguishable features that make a social enterprise different from both conventional businesses and charities. Below is a list of do’s and don’ts that helps distinguish a social enterprise from other similar entities.





  • Make its money from selling goods and services
  • Cover its own costs in the long-term
  • Put at least half of any profits back into making a difference
  • Pay reasonable salaries to its staff
  • Exist to make profits for shareholders
  • Exist to make its owners very wealth
  • Rely on volunteering, grants or donations to stay afloat in the long-term (though again, it may need this sort of help to get started)









The people behind social enterprises 

Anyone can get involved with starting up a social enterprise. Business Ventures such as Organic Vegetable produce, cleaning companies, hairdressing, decorating & labouring, or even street dance classes on housing estates; are some of the examples of successful social enterprises. 

Social enterprises are not only started by the younger generation; within the UK people who have retired are also actively getting involved with setting up projects. In some instances groups of public sector workers have come together to form social enterprises tackling local and wider community issues, often with help and support from the Government. 

Social enterprises such as Academy4housing have also been set up by Housing Associations and various other housing entities such as ALMO’s and TMO’s, as well as by schools and community groups. 


Why are social enterprises the new driving force behind improving living standards?

The evidently frequent successes of social enterprises (even during times of economic hardship) has led to a growing desire among businesses to transform the ways in which they operate, contributing towards a more sustainable future. It is no surprise that increasingly within society, people are more and more convinced that social enterprise is the new way of doing business, working not just for increasing profits but also for the benefit of the wider community. Increased social awareness has led to consumers wanting to know where the goods they buy come from, and tend to ask the following questions prior to making a purchase decision:

  • Have they caused human suffering or environmental damage along the way?
  • Are workers being treated well?
  • Am I getting value for money?
  • Where does the company’s profit go?



Participating Organisation

  • Reducing worklessness 
  • Motivated staff
  • No initial recruitment costs
  • Positive brand association
  • Managed human resources
  • Transparent costing model
  • Project support in line with internal infrastructure and reporting mechanisms
  • Hand picked trainees specific to the requirements of the business at a reduced cost
  • Active participation in the regeneration of the local community 


  • Career led training courses
  • A career with prospects & clear development 
  • Transparent costing model
  • Full agency support
  • Ongoing career guidance
  • Encourage self-respect
  • Increased levels of employability  

Funder / Training Facilitator / Prentis

  • Course led recruitment strategies  
  • Increased ROI
  • Increased course to recruitment rates
  • Ongoing client feedback
  • Diverse employer base
  • Widened employer skill requirement base





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