Who is this toolkit for?

Socially enterprising organisations
Organisations that support socially enterprising activity
What is social enterprise?


“The toolkit includes the things that matter to Social Enterprise and Community & Voluntary organisations and is presented clearly with good practical solutions for groups to try.”

– Nat Thompson
Infrastructure Quality Development Officer
Voluntary Action Sheffield

Charities, voluntary sector and other socially enterprising organisations

Although the emphasis of the website is on social enterprise, the information here will be of use to leaders and managers of any organisation bringing together a social, environmental, or economic mission with market trading or other income-generating strategies. This includes:

  • Social enterprises
  • Social entrepreneurs
  • Charitable organisations
  • Community and voluntary organisations
  • Ethical businesses

Organisations that support socially enterprising activity

This website can also serve as a resource for those who provide advice and assistance to socially enterprising people and organisations. This category may include:

  • Business support and advice providers
  • Social enterprise development agencies
  • Performance improvement advisors
  • Community anchors, local community and voluntary services councils
  • Investors, lenders or philanthropic funders
  • Public or private sector organisations seeking to better understand how social enterprises can prove their value and improve their quality.

What is social enterprise?

“Social enterprises are businesses that trade in the market with a social purpose. They use business tools and techniques to achieve social aims and include an incredibly wide range of organisations, for example cooperatives, development trusts, community enterprises, housing associations, social firms, and leisure trusts.”

(Social Enterprise Coalition)

“Social Enterprises are businesses with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners.”

(Department of Trade and Industry Social Enterprise Unit, Strategy for Success)