Whether you already run a local social enterprises, or think you run one (!) … or are thinking of starting one, we aim to bring you the key local information you need. There are already some great national resources out there so we will link you in to those too.
Thinking of Starting a Social Enterprise from Scratch?
Many social enterprises start from scratch with a good idea, a passion for change and a way of providing a valuable product or service which will give you the income needed to make your social enterprise financially viable.
If you are at this stage, see these great starter tips from the School for Social Entrepreneurs: How to Start a Social Enterprise in 10 Steps.
Thinking of Making Your Charity into a Social Enterprise Too?
If you already run a not for profit organisation such as a charity which relies on grants and donations, you may be looking at other ways of getting the income you need. Maybe you have an idea for a business within your charity. If you can develop this effectively you will make your organisation much more financially secure and able to ultimately meet your core aims more effectively. Many charities and charitable trusts are social enterprises too (if at least 50% of their income is earned) and have undertaken successful business ventures with profit ploughed back into the charity.
You will need to get Board or Trustee approval of your plans. But first you will need some help to develop those plans. This is where you can reach out to local business advisors as well as social enterprise advisors who can help. You may have access to start up or support grants that are not available to those starting a ‘for profit’ enterprise. Get in touch with us if you are interested and we can direct you to support in the local area.
Thinking of Making Your ‘For Profit’ Business into a Social Enterprise?
If you have already set up and constituted your business as a ‘for profit’ organisation eg ‘company limited by share capital’ it won’t have an ‘asset lock’ in place and you will be able to distribute any profit eg to shareholders. This is fine for many businesses and a good way to enable you to get the investment you need to start and for those who invest to benefit from the profit but it is not a social enterprise model. Many good, ethical businesses function in this way and have strong values.
However, you may feel that if your business has a particularly strong social or environmental aim that you care about above getting profit, a social enterprise model would work better for you. It is possible to change from being a ‘for profit’ organisation to becoming a Community Interest Company (CIC) and social enterprise advisors will be able to help.
Just to myth-bust right here – if you run or work for a social enterprise you still earn a salary, hey we all need to eat! It should be fair for the level of skill and experience you bring to the role. Realistically in the early days, just like with any for-profit business, it may not be as high as you’d like for the work you put in. You can also get capital for your social enterprise. In fact some lenders will only lend to social enterprises and may have more favourable terms such as not expecting you to risk your home as collateral (after all if you aren’t doing it to get megabucks, why should you risk the assets you have?).
Existing Social Enterprises
If you already run a social enterprise – if you are North Northants based, make sure you have signed up to be featured here.
We will then be in touch to discuss the opportunities and wider benefits of being a part of our network.