How to be a social entrepreneur
So, what’s it all about?
Social entrepreneurs are setting up businesses in the UK to tackle some of the world’s greatest challenges, such as poverty, mental health, financial inclusion and homelessness. They are disrupting traditional markets and providing innovative models in sectors such as energy, transport, health and educations.
Why is the UK the best place to set up a social venture?
The UK’s social economy includes social sector organisations (such as charities who trade) and businesses placing social and environmental impact at their core. Well-known examples include Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurants, Belu water, Better leisure centres, Teach First and Divine chocolate.
There are an estimated 360,000 of these organisation employing 2.3 million people in the UK, generating over £120bn turnover each year, and making up a fifth of UK businesses. £32bn was spent on goods and services made in the social economy last year and £3bn investment was made on the basis of social impact and financial return.
What kind of support is available?
The UK offers world-leading support to social ventures, from business support and social incubators to a thriving social investment market and specialist help advice for social entrepreneurs.
Find out about the support for entrepreneurs setting up in the UK, and about expanding your business from abroad: Business investment in the UK: Guidance for overseas businesses.
There are different business forms that a social venture can take, find out more about what these are and what would suit you.
Social investment uses private capital to generate social as well as financial returns. The UK is the global hub for social investment, and we have one of the world’s most evolved social economies, drawing on Britain’s expertise as a centre for international capital.
Find out more if you’re looking to raise investment for your social venture.
Social Enterprise UK is the national trade body for social enterprise. Their members aren't just social enterprises. They also include private businesses, charities and public sector organisations who support their vision of a world where social enterprise is the usual way of doing business.
They are here to:
- Run effective campaigns for our members and to lobby on the sector's behalf
- Carry out robust and respected research to help paint a picture of the UK's social enterprise movement
- Build networks between social enterprises
- Work with our Corporate Partners to broker business for our members and other social enterprises
- Raise the profile of people and social enterprises in the sector
Contact UK Trade and Investment on firstname.lastname@example.org or 44 (0)207 333 5442
Jamie Oliver's Food foundation
Established nearly 14 years ago Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen has trained hundreds of disengaged young people to become world-class chefs. It delivers great food to customers for a return that goes straight back to the heart of the business. The chefs.
To date 330 kids have come through the programme and gone on to become successful in their careers Established nearly 30 years ago Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen has trained hundreds of disengaged young people to become world-class chefs.
...whether you're an investor or an entrepreneur, where UK social enterprise is at is a really good place, to collaborate with, invest in and do something that really makes a difference.
Success story #1
Ai-Media UK is a for-profit social business that provides live captioning in schools and universities to support students learning. Their aim is to improve the educational engagement and outcomes of young people across the UK.
Originally starting in Australia by providing captions for broadcast TV and video to support people with deafness, Ai-Media Australia now supports students in mainstream schools, universities and adults in the workplace. The success of Ai-Live has led to it being developed for children and young people with many different needs both in Australia and here in the UK.
Ai-Live is an adaptable tool that is lifting education outcomes for those with autism, learning difficulties and for whom English is an additional language in schools and universities. We decided to expand to the UK as we knew that there was an appetite for this kind of business, and the right support to help us grow. Since being here we have taken on social investment which has built our social capital and delivered a return for investors. We have been able to broaden access to our innovations and, as a result, assist more people.
Success story #2