Setting up a social enterprise

What is a social enterprise? Are they the solution to success during this economic crisis? The top tips given here will guide you through the social enterprise journey from both on employer's viewpoint and the employee.

A social enterprise is a business with essential social objectives whose surpluses are reinvested principally in the community. It is owned by its employees, trades goods and services and a clear social cause. The best examples are cafédirect and Greenwich Leisure limited.

The business case

The key to any new service delivery or successful change delivery model is the development of a strong business care. This might include the following: services, vision and mission to be offered, stakeholder engagement, feasibility study, costs, operating model, partnership, governance, associated risks, implementation and time scales.

Accessing resource

The Big Society Bank is offering some funding for social enterprises since April 2011 and other funding is available from regional and national organisations. Though, competition is strong and social entrepreneurs often resort to private loan arrangements which might be high risk and interest.

Procurement issues

It is not clear what impact Government policy might have on Procurement rules as they exist currently and their impact on social enterprises. This have to compete alongside limited companies and other organisaions for tenders and might not simply be awarded a contract as was currently the case in the NHS right to request scheme. Getting accurate and current advice on contracting and procurement in therefore important.

Choosing the business model

There are plenty of business models from CICs to Companies limited by Guarantee to Mutuls to charities and co - operatives to name a few. All must be registered with Somerset House for organisation status and no model type has all the advantages and none of the cons. Again, both employees and employers are seeking further advice to protect income and assets.