RSA Fellowship Social Network

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Social Entrepreneurs Network


Social Entrepreneurs Network

The Social Entrepreneurs Network is a network for all those interested in social entrepreneurship and social enterprise. The aim is to solve some of the practical challenges faced by social entrepreneurs.

Members: 454
Latest Activity: on Monday

Thank you for joining the RSA’s Social Entrepreneurs Network!

Please use this online to start discussions, seek advice, post events of interest and to find other social entrepreneurs who might be interested in collaborating. If you are a Fellow working in social enterprise and would like to kick something off where you live, you can also talk to your local team in your region. There are also tools you can use like the four ways to engage, and the Changemakers handbook (PDF, 210KB).

The Social Entrepreneurs Network in London, hold regular monthly breakfasts (the last Friday of each month) at the RSA House and we also hold larger events looking at how we can help social enterprises.  

To find out more about how we do things, watch this recent film:

For the last two years we have followed two groups of social entrepreneurs in the Social Enterprise Spotlight case study project. Find out who they are here. We hope you enjoy being involved!

Discussion Forum

What is the Purpose of Business? 5 Replies

At first glance, it might seem redundant to emphasize people as the central focus of economics. After all, isn't the purpose of economics, as well as business, people? Aren't people automatically the central focus of business and economic…Continue

Started by Jeff Mowatt. Last reply by Jeff Mowatt Dec 4.

Join us at the Accelerating Social Innovation Conference on August 21!

Dotforge, The RSA and The Key Fund are bringing the public sector, third sector and social enterprise communities of the UK together on August 21 in Sheffield to discover how technology start-ups can be the catalyst for real positive social…Continue

Tags: event, free, dotforge, accelerator, social

Started by Emily Hill Aug 12.

Join our next Measuring Social Impact Masterclass on the 8th September 2014

Join our next Measuring Social Impact Masterclass on the 8th September 2014@ The Hub Kings CrossMeasuring your Impact can help you =  Secure Funding - Improve marketing and sales - Monitor quality and performance -Demonstrate success - Be…Continue

Started by Heather Black Aug 11.

Looking for partner to support NEETs into EET for £2m bid

Hi everyone,I am currently supporting a consortium in East Sussex to submit a proposal to the Youth Engagement Fund Social Impact Bond PQQ for £2-5m. The proposed intervention is to support 500 - 1000 young people pa over a three period.We are…Continue

Started by Heather Black Jul 29.

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Comment by Danielle Anderson on November 10, 2014 at 10:14

With the year soon drawing to a close, we're starting to turn our attention towards planning for 2015.  I've created a tool that provides a refreshing alternative to tradition business planning and provides the clear, easy steps that you need to follow to go from dream to reality.  

You can find out more, sign up for an early-bird discount, or enter for a chance to win a free copy.

Comment by Jeff Mowatt on November 8, 2014 at 9:08

The case of John McArthur, sanctioned by the DWP for refusing to work without pay, arises during this #LivingWageWeek. John works for a social enterprise which is also a charity.


Comment by Jeff Mowatt on November 8, 2014 at 8:47

it's been something of a dilemma for me that our business plan declared adherence to a living wage policy, when it came to the point that I could not pay myself. The current situation is that the company has no employees and pays no-one.  It's a reasonable to inflict this on oneself perhaps, though not on others.

Comment by David Floyd on November 8, 2014 at 0:51

I agree with criticisms of zero-hours contracts for employees who don't run the company - at least, those zero-hours contracts that demand employees are available to work and can't seek other work but don't commit the employer to providing any work - but not sure there's an ethical issue in giving a zero-hours contract to yourself. 

Comment by Jonathan Bishop on November 7, 2014 at 22:44

Hi Lisa - I'm the director of a company limited by guarantee. I don't pay myself as a PAYE employee of this, even though for many legal purposes I am classed as an employee. You should check your organisation's constitution, as in most not-for-profits the directors or trustees are not paid. You should find in that constitution it will say that directors can get paid for the work they do professionally for the firm, just not their work as a director. In my case I am self-employed and responsible for my own income tax and National Insurance and the firm pays me as a sub-contractor when I provide services beyond being a director - as indeed do all other members, who are not employees either. For the purposes of the Office for National Statistics we are employees, even if for the purposes of HMRC we are not!

Comment by Adrian Ashton on November 7, 2014 at 22:20

hi Lisa - sounds like you may need a new accountant... (as this one doesn't seem to understand your legal structure?);

one (common) option other than putting yourself onto a payroll would be to act as a sub-contractor/consultant to the company - invoicing for activity as it can afford to pay you for it; and David's suggestion of a zero-hours contract is also a viable one (if a little potentially problematic in light of recent outcries against them...) but whichever way you do this, you shouldn't need to resign as a Director to do so...

happy to find a time to chat further in more detail if you want to get in touch directly, and you may also find some further useful guidance from the CIC Association (

Comment by David Floyd on November 7, 2014 at 19:14

Hi Lisa, being an employee doesn't mean you have to pay yourself a regular salary, it just means you have to pay tax and NI as an employee. There's nothing to stop you building your pay (including all related costs) into project costs and paying yourself as and when money comes in - as long as you report what you've paid yourself and pay tax on it.

Comment by Lisa Oulton on November 7, 2014 at 18:29

Hi Everyone, I've been struggling all year to pay myself. My accountant has said that as a Director of my company the only way I can receive money is as an employee. I did this for a while but my company is still young and the sporadic nature of the income made it very difficult to manage the wages plus on costs. 

I would like to pay myself as a freelancer, as I would be easily able to build my pay into the project costs as I do with everyone else and actually get paid.

It was suggested I could pay myself a dividend, but presumably I have the wrong legal structure for that (CIC limited by guarantee)?

The only thing I can think of is to stand down from my board and just run the company as a freelancer, but I'd rather not do that if there's another way.

Any advice gratefully received!

Comment by Mark Hall on October 28, 2014 at 15:33

Hi everyone, don't forget that the next breakfast is this Friday (31 October, 9-10.30am at the RSA House):

Social Entrepreneurs’ Network - Reviewing the year’s plans

Do you want to play a part in shaping the future of our Social Entrepreneurs network? At the previous session the group came up with ideas on topics for future breakfasts and this session will review the plan for how the network will look and develop over the next year.

Come along and meet other people with an interest in social enterprise and share your thoughts on how you would like to see the network develop. 

Find out more and register here:

Comment by Jeff Mowatt on October 28, 2014 at 11:55

Kate, My experience may be of interest. My late colleague had ambient disabilities through an industrial accident and my minor disability was acquired while running a social enterprise. When my local MP became minister for disabled persons I felt obliged to let him know how little he and his leader had helped.


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