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Social enterprises

Are you thinking about setting up a business that helps people or communities (a ‘social enterprise’)? Use our selection of books, articles, links and guides to find information on the steps involved and the potential advantages.

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Online articles

The Library provides access to leading business, finance and management journals. These journals are available to logged-in ICAEW members, ACA students and other entitled users subject to suppliers' terms of use.

The perks of hiring your best customers

This article looks at why social enterprises should look at their own customer base as a source of talent. It covers start-ups and established companies alike creating similar working models around the people they hire; and hiring actual users of the product or service, guaranteeing that customer care specialists are true specialists.

Social enterprises' startups: possibliities and barriers

The ability of social enterprises to secure funding is related to the specific social problems they are created to address. This research paper examines the possibilities and barriers with regard to social enterprises becoming startups.

Two keys to sustainable social enterprise

Social ventures can be a blend of public benefit and financially sustainable business - what can social entrepreneurs do to increase their chances of creating a sustainable (and perhaps even profitable) business?

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Bloomsbury Core Accounting and Tax Service

Eligible firms have free access to Bloomsbury Professional's comprehensive online library, comprising more than 60 titles from some of the country's leading tax and accounting subject matter experts. Find out who is eligible and how you can access the Core Accounting and Tax Service.

Social Investment Tax Relief

Satwaki Chanda, Chris Williams Capital Gains Tax Reliefs for SMEs and Entrepreneurs 2020-21

A chapter providing detailed guidance on Social Investment Tax Relief, written for SMEs and entrepreneurs in the UK.

Terms of use: You are permitted to access, download, copy, or print out content from eBooks for your own research or study only, subject to the Acceptable usage terms.

Useful links

Guidance, articles and reports

GetLegal decision tool
A free decision tool from Bates Wells Braithwaite LLP to help with setting up a charity or social enterprise. The tool uses a short series of questions to provide an indicator of an appropriate legal form for the new organisation.

Legal forms for social enterprise: a guide
UK government guide which provides the government's definition of a social enterprise and explains the various legal forms a social enterprise can take, including unincorporated forms, limited companies, community interest companies (CICs), industrial and provident societies (ISPs) and limited liability partnerships (LLPs).

Setting up a social enterprise 
UK government guide to setting up a business that has social, charitable or community-based objectives.

Should your charity become a social enterprise? 
Gillian Murray makes the case for the benefits of social enterprises in this Guardian article from 2012.

Social enterprise entity structures
Factsheet from Hallidays Group Ltd, covering the various legal forms that can be considered when setting up a social enterprise.

Social investment tax relief
UK government guidance on social investment tax relief (SITR), which encourages individuals to support social enterprises.

State of Social Enterprise Survey 2017
A Social Enterprise UK report providing a snapshot of social enterprises operating in the UK, including the proportion of new start-ups, their locations, turnover scales, geographical reach and the economic sectors they trade in. 


Good Finance
A new website aimed at charities and social enterprises. It provides information and advice on locating socially responsible sources of finance.

Offfers a predominantly free support service for anyone looking to start, run, finance or partner with a social enterprise (funded by the University of Northampton). Qualified advisers can provide remote support via phone, email or webcam. 

Social Enterprise UK 
The national body for social enterprise. Their website holds the free publications Start your social enterprise and Why social enterprise? A guide for charities.

Social Enterprise NI
Representative body for social enterprises and social entrepreneurs across Northern Ireland. The organisation provides case studies and news.

UK organisation which funds and supports social entrepreneurs. Their website provides free Legal help guides produced in partnership with DLA Piper, including a Structures for social enterprises guide to help identify the best legal structure for your social venture. 

Articles and books in the Library collection 

Selected books

Enterprise investment scheme: and other venture capital reliefs
(Claritax, 2018)
Provides a practical analysis of four tax-advantaged schemes for venture capital investors, including social investment tax relief.

The charity treasurer's handbook
(Directory of Social Change, 2017)
This book outlines some of the key issues of charity law that affect the work of treasurers and finance officers in smaller charities. Includes a chapter on social enterprise.

The complete charity VAT handbook
(Directory of Social Change, 2016)
Advice and information to benefit all not-for-profit organisations, including social enterprises.

The good guide to financial management
(NCVO, 2014)
Information on accounting, financial management and taxation for charities, with a chapter on social investment and social enterprise.

To find out how you can borrow books from the Library please see our guide to book loans.

You can obtain copies of articles or extracts of books and reports through our document supply service.

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