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How to set up and manage a social enterprise

The Community Services can offer a range of skills and experience to support new and existing groups and organisations looking to set up in Telford and Wrekin as a social enterprise.

From getting the basics right through to the more complicated steps of developing your social enterprise, there are a range of ways in which we can help you to access the right support.

A social enterprise is defined (by Government) as 'a business 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'.

To put more simply, any profit the business makes is reinvested into the business/community.

Visit the GOV.UK website to view more information on social enterprises

There are many different websites available to help you consider what sort of social enterprise you would like to set up.

Visit the Social Enterprise UK website for the guide to setting up a social enterprise

Every social enterprise is there trying to make a difference to a community, to particular individuals and/or the world as a whole. This is measured by what’s referred to as ‘social impact’, which is about the difference that this activity or service has made to people/society, economic or environmental outcomes - things that are not always measured in the same ways that financial value is.

Visit the Social Enterprise UK website for more information on measuring the impact of your social enterprise

There are many different legal structures you can use when setting up a social enterprise, it all depends on what you want to do and who will benefit from your enterprise.

When choosing your legal structure for your social enterprise you will need to look at:

  • the activities you are going to do
  • where your money will likely come from to support your enterprise
  • what governance might best suit your enterprise and how much control you might want
  • who else needs to be involved?
  • who are your potential customers and partners?

Visit the Social Enterprise website for more information on legal structures

View our toolkit to setting up a community group

Your social mission sets out what your social enterprise aims to achieve. It helps you to make sure you are staying on track when planning your next steps. Your social mission needs to be included in your mission statement. It is always worth exploring what needs to be in your mission statement from the very beginning as you will be referring back to this on regular occasions, such as when writing your constitution, terms of reference, filling out legal documents etc.

Visit the Wix Blog website for more advice on how to develop a mission statement

There are several reasons why you should write a business plan:

  • it provides a structured way of organising your thoughts and clarifying your ideas
  • it helps you set out your goals and spot any potential problems in achieving these
  • it gives you a clear strategy to follow especially when things get busy
  • it is often essential for securing external finance for your business (such as grants or start-up-loans)
  • it allows you to measure your progress as your business/enterprise develops
  • it ensures all of your team are working towards the same vision
  • most importantly it helps you plan for the future.

Examples of business plans: 

To get your social enterprise off the ground you will need to identify who needs to know about it and how you will tell them. You will also need to think about the key messages that people need to know. This can help you to find people who may want to be involved and also use your business or product.

Visit the know how website for information from NCVO on putting together a communications strategy

Visit The Marches Growth Hub website for more information on communications, marketing and engagement

Last updated: 25/05/2023 08:26

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