What are social enterprises?
Social enterprises are businesses set up to tackle a social or environmental need. Many commercial businesses would consider themselves to have social objectives, but social enterprises are distinctive because their social and/or environmental purpose is absolutely central to what they do - their profits are reinvested to sustain and further their mission for positive change.
What are some examples of social enterprises?
The Big Issue, the Eden Project and Jamie Oliver's restaurant Fifteen are examples of social enterprises. So are award-winners Divine Chocolate, a fair trade chocolate company co-owned by the cocoa farmers cooperative Kuapa Kokoo in Ghana and Women like Us, which connects women with flexible employment.
Social enterprises cover a huge range of industries - Cafedirect is the UK's largest Fairtrade hot drinks company; The Elvis & Kresse Organisation (EaKo) takes industrial waste materials, turns them into stylish luggage and hand bags and donates 50% of the profits to the Fire Fighters Charity; Hill Holt Wood educates at-risk youth in an ancient woodland; Central Surrey Health is a pioneering social enterprise in the health care world that is run by the nursing and therapy teams its employs; Greenworks takes office furniture that would have been sent to the landfill and offers it at a large discount to charities and other organisations.
In Wales examples of social enterprise include Dwr Cymru, Tower Colliery and in Cardiff - Vision 21 and Packit and our own St German's Day Centre. The Adamsdown Communities First Project is hoping to provide advice and support to new and emerging enterprises in the area and to develop facilities for starter initiatives.
Mike Wardle of Novas Scarman is happy to offer advice, you can contact Mike on