The government defines social enterprises as ‘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.'
All social enterprises have a social and/or environmental mission, which is absolutely central to what they do – it’s why they exist. That may be reducing carbon emissions or landfill, supporting people with disabilities into paid work, or providing training to young or disadvantaged. Put simply, when social enterprises profit, society profits.
- Have a clear social mission set out in their governing documents
- Have an accountable structure to oversee and protect the social mission
- Generate the majority of their income through trade
- Reinvest their profits
- Be autonomous and independent organisations
- Be majority owned and controlled in the interests of the social mission