Social enterprises are businesses that trade to tackle social problems, improve communities, people’s life chances, or the environment.

Social enterprise has been in existence for many years, however it is still fairly new to health. Increasing numbers of healthcare organisations are exploring social enterprise as a way of delivering their work.

The government defines social enterprise as a business with social objectives whose surplus is reinvested in the business or in the community, rather than maximising profit for shareholders and owners.

Investing in the community

Every penny of any surplus we make is invested back into improving the services we deliver and benefiting the communities we work in.

We are driven by social objectives. Many commercial businesses may consider themselves to have social objectives, but as a social enterprise we are distinct because the social or environmental purpose is central. For our patients and staff that means the decision we take driven by what is best for them, not by the need to boost profits.

Social enterprises contribute £18.5 billion to the UK economy

Well-known examples of social enterprises include The Big Issue, Jamie Oliver’s restaurant Fifteen, and the fair-trade chocolate company Divine Chocolate.

According to 2012 data from the BIS Survey of Small Business UK, there are approximately 70,000 social enterprises in the UK, employing 723,000 people and contributing £18.5 billion to the UK economy.

To find out more about social enterprise visit Social Enterprise UK.