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What is Social Enterprise?

Volunteers outside office

Social enterprises operate in a similar way to business, but instead of benefiting individuals (such as shareholders) they work for the benefit of society and the environment.

There are around 100, 000 social enterprises in the UK, according to Social Enterprise UK, and these contribute £60bn to the UK economy and employ almost two million people.

Social enterprises:

  • Trade so that they can tackle social problems and improve communities, people’s lives or the environment
  • Deliver services (or sell products) that earn money and make profits, just like a ‘normal’ business

The difference is in how social enterprises work and what they do with their profits. Social enterprises re-invest the profits they make, to do good things for society. It’s the combination of doing business and doing good that makes social enterprise one of the fastest-growing and most exciting business models in the county. Having a clear sense of its social mission means a social enterprise knows exactly what difference it’s trying to make, who it aims to help and how it’s going to go about it.

What’s more, just like in business, you’ll find social enterprises in many different industries and sectors. Dentists, bistros, film makers and food distributors are just some of the social enterprises that won awards alongside Creating Enterprise in the 2017 UK Social Enterprise Awards.

Video – Creating Enterprise – Social Enterprise

Conwy – a Social Enterprise Place

A Social Enterprise Place is an area where social enterprises are doing especially well. A Social Enterprise Place can be a quarter, a town, a city or a zone, but what they all have in common is that they have declared themselves as places that are committed to investing in the social enterprise sector.

These hotspots of social enterprise activity have been awarded the Social Enterprise Place badge by the organisation Social Enterprise UK, which provides support to help social enterprises grow.

There are 26 accredited Social Enterprise Places in the UK, three of which are in Wales… and one of those is Conwy.

You can find out more about Social Enterprise Places by visiting the Social Enterprise UK website here.

Logo - social enterprise county conwy