Starting a Social Enterprise

Are you thinking of starting a social enterprise?

To start a business where society profits, you’ll need to consider the following:

  • the social issue you’ll be solving, or positive benefit that you’ll be contributing to the community
  • your potential customer base
  • the current marketplace and how you intend to reach customers
  • operations, costs and financing
  • the most appropriate legal structure for your company

What you need to think about…

Business Planning

If you’re thinking of starting a social enterprise, you’ll need a business plan that becomes the embodiment of your idea. The business plan should be a living, working document, which is the foundation on which you will build your enterprise. It will help you to evaluate the viability and sustainability of your idea and will also inform your decision regarding the most appropriate legal structure.

More about business planning

Financial Planning

You will need to look at the funds required to run and sustain your business, noting the money coming into the business and the money going out (cash flow). It is essential to forecast your cash flow to ensure that the organisation does not run out of money – and it also identifies how much funding needs to be raised in order to operate the business.

More about financial planning

Company Legal Structure

Before deciding upon a legal structure you need to have carefully considered the following:

  • key people involved in the organisation;
  • how the business will generate its income;
  • tax implications of the different structures;
  • whether you want to attract investors or apply for grant funding;
  • your liability as part of the business;
  • governance, regulations and cost relating to the different legal structures.

The completion of a business plan can help to inform your decision.

More about legal structure

Measuring Social Impact

A social enterprise is a business where society profits, and you’ll need to demonstrate the social value of your business, especially if you’re applying for grant funding. Showing how you’re benefiting society is also a great way to attract customers.

We can explain the different tools available for measuring your impact – and if you need something more in-depth we can link you with the University’s Institute for Social Innovation and Impact for a bespoke quotation.

Please refer to the attached ‘I2E Guide to Starting a Social Enterprise’. This document provides a useful overview of what you will need to consider when starting out.

Frequently asked questions

You might be interested in…

Bespoke projects

Looking for something a bit different? Perhaps you’ve got a specific project in mind and could benefit from more in-depth adviser support?

Contact us to find out how we can help.

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