The UK is viewed as a pioneer of social enterprise and the associated practices of social investment and social value.
Social enterprises are businesses that trade to tackle social problems, improving communities, people’s life chances, or the environment. They make their money from selling goods and services in the open market, but they reinvest their profits back into the business or the local community.
Social enterprises exist in nearly every sector from consumer goods to healthcare, community energy to creative agencies, restaurants to facilities management. SEUK defines social enterprises as businesses that:
- Have a clear social and/or environmental mission set out in their governing documents
- Generate the majority of their income through trade
- Reinvest the majority of their profits
- Are autonomous of the state
- Are majority controlled in the interests of the social mission
- Are accountable and transparent