Resources for social entrepreneurs


Social enterprises:

"....cover a whole range of social, voluntary and community services, activities and initiatives and can include the provision of training, advice and support to individuals and organisations, self-help groups for community action and trading. Social entrepreneurs may be involved in enterprise development and trading activities but finance is a means to an end. Their core objective is to create social value"

(Hartigan, P. and Billimoria, J, Social Entrepreneurship: an overview,
Alliance, Vol 10, No.1, March 2005)

For the UK Government's definition of what they have also labelled the 'third sector' – see Communities and Local Government:

"... a business 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."

Many charities operate social enterprises as part of their activities and many social enterprises operate in the commercial market place competing with traditional for profit businesses. Furthermore the competition amongst charities and social enterprises for funding is every bit as fierce as the competition for private and equity finance in the commercial sphere. Therefore, even if your core objective is to create social rather than economic value you will still need a well developed commercial awareness and many, if not all, of the enterprise skills associated with being a business entrepreneur.

Useful websites

  • Business in the Community

    A business-led charity that advises and promotes a sustainable future through improving business performance in small local businesses, multinational and public sector organisations

  • National Housing Federation

    Represents 1,200 independent, not-for-profit housing associations in England and are the voice of affordable housing.

  • Skoll Foundation

    Drives large-scale change by investing in, connecting, and celebrating social entrepreneurs and other innovators dedicated to solving the world’s most pressing problems.

  • Social Enterprise Coalition

    A great resource for anyone interested in learning more about social enterprises. Fantastic for networking opps too. Represents a wide range of social enterprises, regional and national support networks and other related organisations.

  • UnLtd

    A charity which supports social entrepreneurs