Starting a Social Enterprise resources
Amanda Johnston from SENI gave an overview of What is A Social Enterprise, what is the differences between operating as a charity and as a social enterprise and whether community groups/charities should consider starting a trading arm of a social enterprise and the differing legal structures you can be operate as, including the importance of having a board.
Three other speakers spoke about their experience starting and running social enterprises:
- Chara Clarke – You Glow Girl
- Jacinta Linden Community – Bolster (formerly Space NI)
- Narita Woods – Fox & Bean
Reasons to make it legal
- Limiting your personal liability - If your business gets into debt you personally may be liable.
- The legal framework you choose helps create your identity.
- Your legal framework will set the rules and regulations about how you trade
Things to think about
- Need to have clear aims for their business
- What are your mission and objectives?
- How are you going to be financed?
Reasons to start a social enterprise
- Someone has experienced or identified a problem they want to solve (and then solve it for other people)
- All businesses should operate this way, and put people and planet on an equal footing with profit
- Charities needing to earn more of their money to survive and thrive
- Not wanting to rely on handouts or donations or volunteering to be sustainable
- Being inspired by examples of successful social enterprises
- See a gap in the market that they could income generate from
Things to consider when starting a social enterprise
- Charity to social enterprise is changing the funding model
- Decide on your legal structure
- Find support and Get a mentor either from a support programme or someone you admire and respect
- Finding and keeping best people – skills of board and staff team very important.
- Business approach
- Finding investment and funding
For more support and help go to the SENI website
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