Tools and resources
Tools & resources
Social enterprise explained
Social enterprises do business for good. They are “businesses which are set up to change the world. Like traditional businesses they aim to make a profit but it’s what they do with their profits that sets them apart – reinvesting or donating it to create positive social change. Social enterprises exist in nearly every sector from consumer goods to healthcare, community energy to creative agencies, restaurants to facilities management. Well known examples include The Big Issue, Divine Chocolate and the Eden Project but there are over 70,000 social enterprises throughout the country contributing £24 billion to the economy and employing nearly a million people.” – Social Enterprise UK
Find out more about the social enterprises in Greater Brighton by visiting our directory .
Are you ready to do business for good? If you have a business idea that can make a positive social or environmental impact here are a couple of tools and guides that offer structure through the initial steps.
- UnLtd have created a comprehensive Social Entrepreneurship Toolkit that offers practical guidance and working models from initial idea, setup and piloting, on to longer term sustainability, growth and replication.
- Social Enterprise UK have a compact Start Your Social Enterprise Guide that takes you through the essentials, focusing on the parts that they feel are most important.
- If you are a charity of voluntary lead organisation considering becoming a social enterprise Social Enterprise UK’s guide Why Social Enterprise for charities is a must to get you started.
- Knowhow Nonprofit is a knowledge and e-learning platform for charities, social enterprises and community groups. They cover the basics around starting up and have practical tools and resources you can use that covers everything from business planning to HR policies and everything in between.
- HelloAlice is a great new digital tool that sifts through thousands of resources to signpost you to what is right for you. You can search based on your industry, stage of growth, location and more.
Social enterprise trade to tackle social and environmental issues. Measuring the impact they make is key to testing their model and communicating their impact and here are some useful tools.
- The Good Finance Outcomes Matrix provides a useful starting point for you to consider the social impact that you are trying to deliver and how your will measure it.
- Creating a theory of change will enable you to create a roadmap to design and test the impact your social enterprise is trying to make. Nesta have developed a Theory of Change module in their DIY Toolkit.
- There are many ways to measure the impact you make, the UnLtd toolkit section on proving your social model and collecting your evidence gives a good overview.
A social enterprise can be any legal structure. Choosing the right one for your business will have an impact on your; personal liability, ownership, funding (both short and long term), governance and profit distribution.
Here are some tools to help you get your head around governance:
- UnLtd’s toolkit on determining the right legal structure helps you to consider some of the most common legal structures used by social enterprise.
- The COOP have designed a multiple choice tool that helps you determine what legal structure is most appropriate for you as well as an overview of each legal structure and organisational form in their Simply Legal guide.
- the Hive have a useful overview of the legal and governance options.
We recommend you get advice from a legal expert to make sure your legal structure works for you as you set up and grow.
Generating income and raising finance
Like any business, getting your income model right is key to the long term success of your social enterprise. Social enterprises have access to every source of income (legal structure permitting).
- NCVO have created a useful guide Income Spectrum – helping you find the right funding mix to enable you to explore your options including gifts, grants, contracts and the open market. They also provide an overview of for each source of income in their funding and income overview.
Raising finance to start up and grow your social enterprise can be key to the success of your social enterprise. To help you find the right finance for your social enterprise;
- Good Finance provides examples of social investors
- Work out if social investment is right for you in 3 steps with this tool from Good Finance
- Nesta has created Crowdingin a crowdfunding platform chooser
- Funding Central is a guide to over 4000 grants
- SE Assist are launching a unique opportunity in Brighton to access £10K-30K interest free loans as well as mentoring and support from experts from CAF and Legal & General. Find out about this opportunity and how to apply at their launch event on the 8th March here at The Platform.
Marketing your social enterprise is the same as marketing any business. However you may choose to market your impact as a unique selling point.
- Dynamic Marketing have created a list of resources and tools to get you started.
- Social Enterprise UK support social enterprises to market their businesses through their Buy Social campaign.
We are developing a Buy Social Directory for Greater Brighton to promote buying from social enterprises. Sign up to our social enterprise directory to be included.
Supply chains and procurement
Many social enterprises sell their products and services to businesses and the public sector by entering their supply chains and winning contracts through procurement.
- UnLtd have created a guide on How corporates can engage with social entrepreneurs which provides an overview of ways to work with corporates including through their supply chains.
- SEUK run the Buy Social Corporate Challenge supporting high profile businesses who are aiming to spend £1 billion with social enterprises by 2020 as part of their buy social campaign. You can register your social enterprise on their Buy Social Directory.
In 2016 the UK public sector had public procurement spend of around £200 billion. Social enterprises are well positioned to win public sector contracts through the introduction of the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2013 which requires people who commission public services to think about how they can also secure wider social, economic and environmental benefits. For more information on the Social Value Act visit the Gov.uk website and search their contract finder.
- Social Enterprise UK launched Realising the Potential of Social Enterprise: A guide for people in local authorities who are interested in social enterprise: council leaders, senior managers, directors of services, commissioners, heads of procurement, or those with responsibility for economic development. It outlines how social enterprises can help meet a local authority’s strategic objectives, and gives practical advice on how local authorities can best work with them.
Both councils and business support organisations run ‘Meet the Buyer’ events which provide opportunities for suppliers to meet public sector procurers and large businesses which are a great opportunity to access these supply chains.
Are you ready to scale up or want to consider building in the potential to scale from the start?
Support from the platform
As a social enterprise hub, The Platform offers a range of support through our:
Socials and showcases
Startup and accelerator programmes
Social enterprise representation and campaigns
Reduced rate venue, meeting room and office hire
If you can’t find the support you need, get in touch and tell us how we can help. The support we offer is co-created with the social enterprises we work with to make sure the support we offer meets you needs.