STARTING A SOCIAL ENTERPRISE?
Please note that our advice helpline is open to SEUK members only. We are a membership organisation and unable to offer free advice over the phone to all callers.
Our practical guide to starting your social enterprise takes you through the essentials from finding investment and funding to deciding on the most suitable legal structure for your social enterprise.
If you are in need of free business support and advice, please contact Inspire2Enterprise.
JOIN SOCIAL ENTERPRISE UK
For a one-off annual membership fee we provide social enterprises with a range of benefits including access to training, information and advice, discounted event attendance, PR and comms.
SOCIAL ENTERPRISE UK MEMBERS IN ACTION
Bikeworks is a social enterprise with several branches in London, offering a range of services including cycle training, repairs, bike recycling, travel planning and sales of bikes.
Jim Blakemore is co-director and joint founder of Bikeworks, a London-based social enterprise which uses bikes as tools to create social and environmental change at community level. Before the bike scene beckoned, Blakemore spent his early career DJing and promoting club nights across England, squeezing in time to teach people with learning disabilities to DJ in his free time.
The social enterprise now has three retail shops, a bike servicing unit in the basement of Deloitte, three training centres and two disability clubs. Visit a Bikeworks shop and you’ll find top of the range bike parts and mechanics offering repair services as well as refurbished bikes saved from landfill and recycled bike parts, which are also sold on its Online Vintage Bikes and Parts Shop.
Fikay Eco Fashion is a multi-award winning adventure inspired fashion brand with a mission to make a positive impact internationally.
By rethinking traditional supply chains Fikay has found a way everyone can win. They empower widows and disabled adults in developing countries who would otherwise be overlooked through training and micro loans. Each person gets a sewing machine on loan with 0% interest which they pay back over a year while working with us. On the ground partners deliver the micro loans and training because nobody knows the local culture better than local people.
Aaron Jones, a 25-year-old graduate of international enterprise and business development at the University of Essex, started Fikay in 2011 after a gap year in Asia. He spotted bags made from cement sacks and old fish-feed packets – featuring striking tiger, elephant, eagle and cobra designs – for sale at a market in Cambodia, and started researching the supply chain.
After months sourcing and selling test items to friends and family in the UK, Jones decided he had a viable business idea and ploughed in funds from his student overdraft, family and friends.
WHAT MAKES A SOCIAL ENTERPRISE A SOCIAL ENTERPRISE?
The term ‘social enterprise’ came about from recognition that in the UK and across the world, there were organisations using the power of business to bring about social and environmental change without a single term to unite them.
Social Enterprise UK believes social enterprises should:
- Have a clear social and/or environmental mission set out in their governing documents
- Generate the majority of their income through trade
- Reinvest the majority of their profits
- Be autonomous of state
- Be majority controlled in the interests of the social mission
- Be accountable and transparent
Read more about this in the short paper, What makes a social enterprise a social enterprise?