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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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?
The business of being good
A new generation of social entrepreneurs are changing lives for the better, while still making money.
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.
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.
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
Social impact investment just paid off
Economia, July 2017
Former prime minister Gordon Brown on his role in developing the world's first Social Impact Bond (SIB) initiative, which saw private investment being mobilised to back a programme of personal mentoring and support for young offenders.
The taxation of social enterprise
European Taxation, May 2015
Looks at the nature of social enterprise, the problems encountered in this area, and the tax incentives available in various European countries.
Keep it small and local
Taxline, March 2015
Individuals can now get tax breaks for investment in small social enterprises. The article explains the idea behind social investment tax relief (SITR) and how it works.
Enterprise investment scheme: and other venture capital reliefs
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
Information on accounting, financial management and taxation for charities, with a chapter on social investment and social enterprise.
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