Social enterprises aim to make a profit like any other business, but it’s what they do with the profits that makes them different.  Social enterprises reinvest the money back into their business or their community to tackle social and/or environmental issues.


Social enterprises operate across all sectors.  They are growing strongly across the UK and include a wide range of organisations such as community enterprises, charities with a ‘trading’ arm, and co-operatives, all with the purpose of using business to create social impact.

Whether you are thinking about starting a social enterprise business or if you are already working in or running a social enterprise and you are looking to grow, there are often specialist business support programmes that can help you.  Live programmes specifically for Social Enterprises will be shown at the bottom of this page.

The Growth Hub team are here to help you identify the best support to start or grow your social enterprise so you can get in touch with us today and tell us about your goals to access our bespoke advice service.

Gov.UK |Setting up a social enterprise – Government source of guidance on setting up a social enterprise including legal forms for social enterprise –

Social Enterprise UK | The UK body for social enterprise.  Offer free and paid for bespoke services and advice for social enterprises of all sizes –

Social Innovation Toolkit

This toolkit aims to support social innovators all across Europe to develop their ideas, by using the steps of the innovation spiral. Each step is presented with a set of tools and sources that you can use to transform your idea into a viable and effective initiative.

Inspire2Enterprise | Free-to-access support service for those starting or growing a social enterprise –

Good Finance | Aims to help charities and social enterprises understand and access social investment –

UnLtd | Competitive Awards programme for Social Entrepreneurs – awards include tailored funding and support, one-to-one guidance, specialist advice from experts –

Big Lottery Fund | Big Lottery Fund gives grants from £300 to more than £500,000 to community and voluntary groups and charities.  Funding finder tool –

Social Enterprise Mark | Social enterprise accreditation scheme, enabling credible social enterprises to prove that they are making a real difference to society, communities and the environment –

Devon Community Foundation | Funding for community projects.  Small grants awarded to charities, voluntary and community groups in three general grant rounds per year: Spring, Summer and Winter –

Somerset Community Foundation | Offer grants to community organisations and charities and/or loans for trading-based activities.  Programmes are designed to Tackle disadvantage, Transform people’s lives, and Strengthen local communities –

VCSE Strength Checker | Free diagnostic tool for your voluntary, community or social enterprise organisation (from Cabinet office and Big Lottery Fund) –

The Hive | A business support programme from Co-operatives UK and The Co-operative Bank, for people wanting to start or grow a co-operative or community enterprise –


To find out how the Growth Hub can help your business, contact our team today on 03456 047 047 or use our online form

business-support-icon-60px-01Business support programmes

    • Plymouth Social Enterprise Network
    • Plymouth
    • Plymouth Social Enterprise Network represents all kinds of social enterprises including co-operatives, community interest companies, charities, community businesses and more. All are joined by a common bond – that of doing business for a good cause.
    • Read more
    • Health & Wellbeing Challenge Fund (South West)
    • Devon
    • Read more
    • School for Social Entrepreneurs Learning Programmes
    • Devon
    • School for Social Entrepreneurs Learning Programmes are 3 month, 6 month and 12 month part time action learning programmes to help social entrepreneurs and social enterprises set up, develop and grow.
    • Read more
    • Somerset Social Enterprise Fund
    • Somerset
    • Loan and Grant funding for social enterprises based in and / or predominantly operating in Somerset. Support includes free advice from Somerset Social Enterprise Fund Manager with regards to developing applications, business plans and relevant information to help funding decision making.
    • Read more
    • Community Council for Somerset
    • Somerset
    • Read more

icon-events-60pxEvents and workshops

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