Start your social enterprise


This guide takes you through the start-up essentials and includes the advice of those who have been there and done it. March 2012.

Setting up a social enterprise – or changing an organisation from a charity, public sector or private business into a successful social enterprise can be a daunting, exhilarating and challenging experience. But it’s one that the UK’s successful social enterprise leaders will tell you they are very glad they had.

You can sometimes feel alone on the journey – and that’s why it’s vital to learn from the experiences of those who have gone before you. With that in mind, we’ve produced this highly practical guide – extracted from ‘Your Chance to Change the World’ - a book by leading social entrepreneur Craig Dearden-Phillips – to give you the knowledge, confidence and inspiration to make your idea a reality.

There’s a lot of information out there for start-ups, and this guide takes you through the essentials, but we focus on the parts that are most important in a social enterprise. Social enterprises have some unique challenges. For example in a social enterprise you don’t just have to worry about keeping the customer satisfied. You have to satisfy your social ambitions too – whether that means serving a community, protecting the environment or solving a social problem.

This guide is intended to help you get your head round the essentials.Throughout the guide we’ve provided some words of wisdom fromsocial entrepreneurs – they tweeted us their advice – what they wish they’d known when they were starting out. We wish you every success on the journey. And we’d like to help you on the way – please join Social Enterprise UK, the membership body for social enterprises.

Visit our membership pages or email 

Inspire2Enterprise LogoInspire2Enterprise provide a unique free-to-access social enterprise support, information and advice service - from start-up through to initial growth and beyond call them today on 0844 9800 760 or visit