Social enterprise

 What are social enterprises?

A social enterprise is a business that trades for a social and/or environmental purpose. It will have a clear sense of its ‘social mission’:  which means it will know what difference it is trying to make, who it aims to help, and how it plans to do it.  It will bring in most or all of its income through selling goods or services.  And it will also have clear rules about what it does with its profits, reinvesting these to further the ‘social mission’

Social enterprises come in many shapes and sizes from large national and international businesses to small community based enterprises (see question 2). But they all:

  • Are businesses that aim to generate their      income by selling goods and services, rather than through grants and      donations
  • Are set up to specifically make a difference
  • Reinvest the profits they make in their social      mission

If you meet or aim to meet these criteria and you have these commitments expressed clearly in your governing documents then you are very probably a social enterprise.

According to Social Enterprise UK, social enterprises should:

  • Have a clear social and/or environmental      mission set out in their governing documents
  • Generate the majority of their income through      trade
  • Reinvest the majority of their profits
  • Be autonomous of state
  • Be majority controlled in the interests of the      social mission
  • Be accountable and transparent

The number of social enterprises has increased over recent years and there is encouragement to carry on doing so, particularly as the current economic climate seems to have initiated an entrepreneurial spirit amongst school leavers and graduates who are struggling to find work. In this are we have few true social enterprises

  • Mackay Country Community Trust
  • Melness & Tongue Community Development Trust
  • T4T community transport
  • North Coast Connections
  • Strathnaver Museum
  • North Coast Leisure Centre

Registered in Scotland
A Company Limited by Guarantee
No SC273125 Charity No. SC 039184
Bettyhill, Thurso, Caithness, KW14 7SS.
Tel: 01971 511783