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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: 444
Latest Activity: on Tuesday

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? 3 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 Sep 5.

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 Becca Massey-Chase on June 24, 2014 at 9:30

Hi all, don't forget that the next breakfast is this Friday (27 June, 9-10.30am at the RSA House):

Social enterprise: what's love got to do with it?

If being loved and loving others are the things that make the biggest possible difference to the well-being of individuals and communities, then what would love-based enterprises and institutions look like?

At this discussion-based, interactive breakfast, Steve Coles will give an overview of Intentionality CIC’s research into the role of love in social enterprises.

We'll discuss questions including: "Is love really ‘all you need’?" and "Why do we affirm pop culture beliefs about love, but then ignore them in our workplaces?"

Come along with ideas, thoughts, experiences and counter-arguments and be ready to get idealistic, innovative and inspired.

Find out more and register here: 

Comment by Adrian Ashton on June 24, 2014 at 7:03

might be useful to highlight some research that the CIC Regulator published which found that in the majority of cases, having the CIC status made no difference to the decision of a grant making body to award support - they always look at what type of company structure it's based on (guarantee or share);

I've found that most of the smaller and 'niche' (£5,000 or less) grant making trusts do seem to specify that applicants need a charity number, but many are happy with a guarantee company status;

company law is also flexible enough that the defining characteristics of social enterprise (social purpose, asset lock, restrictions on the distribution of profits to private individuals - all the things that most grant making bodies look for) can all be entrenched into any company's Articles (governing document).

Comment by Alicia Weston on June 24, 2014 at 0:30

Thanks Fabian.  I guess part of my problem at this stage is I'm still in pilot.  I don't really know how I want to work, what I have is an idea that has great impact.  I'd rather not be dependent on charitable funding and I'm assuming my business & socent background will mean I'll come up with a revenue model at some point, but at this point I don't have one and my main focus is refining the methods and proving the impact for the time being.  So I need something flexible that I can get funding into from foundations but would also enable me to trade going forward if I can figure out how.  Sorry if I'm boring all the other subscribers to this thing with my problems

Comment by Fabian Tompsett on June 23, 2014 at 23:47

In terms of fundraising there are different avenues for a charity or something like a CIC. A CIC is basically a form of Company Limited by guarantee, except that in the event of dissolution, any remaining funds go to a designated charity.

The best thing to do is to sort out what structure suits teh way yiu want to work.

Comment by Alicia Weston on June 23, 2014 at 23:09

Thanks all for your comments.  Adrian I've listened to your webinar, many thanks.  My current thinking is control is an issue for me so charity is out. Not sure about CIO.  I was talking to a fundraiser who didn't seem to think CIC would be an obstacle to getting grant funding, has anyone else had any negative experience of this? What about co. limited by guarantee?  My current thinking is it's between the 2 forms

Adrian and Kevin, I'll be in touch separately, thanks

Comment by Maria Ana Neves on June 23, 2014 at 22:24

thanks Arian, those are great considerations. 

In Plan Zheroes case, the reason to exist (and incorporate) is its mission, which is more a social/charitable mission than a business one, so it helped. 

Alicia said

"I was looking into CIC status but our main criteria is that we need to be something that foundations are happy to grant money to." 

As I was told when we reviewed all, was that unfortunately C.I.C will be excluded from most grants that were set up in the past.

I was also told that many organisations start with one, and once they prove their models and start generate revenues, can always establish a trading organisation, Ltd company, etc. 

There are many examples like that. So for Alicia's scenario, would be what works for her "entity" at this stage and if it evolves in a direction where commercial/for profit makes sense, they can create a Ltd Company, or a C.I.C. or any other legal form. 

having said this, to obtain the C.I.O. you need to comply with the Charities Commission… 

Comment by Adrian Ashton on June 23, 2014 at 21:30

interested in your comment Maria Ann about a CIO being 'similar' to a CIC as broadly speaking:

- one can pay/employ its Board/Directors (if it chooses to), but the other can't...

- one can take external investment in the form of equity, the other can't...

- one can flexibly change its trading activities, the other can't...

- but then, one is subject to a regulator who can sue other people in it's name, while the other isn't...


Comment by Maria Ana Neves on June 23, 2014 at 21:17

Hi Alicia 

we ( ) had exactly the same "dilemma" and after much research decided to incorporate as a C.I.O. - charitable incorporated organisations. 

it is a similar concept to C.I.C. but from the charity sector, reports only to Charity Commission and is okay for grants that can only be given to charities. 

hope this helps

Maria Ana

Comment by Kevin Drugan on June 23, 2014 at 21:00

I'd be happy to help as I've got lots experience here. There may be some synergy also with my new social venture - Britain Foundation. I'm based in London so easy to meet.

Comment by Adrian Ashton on June 23, 2014 at 18:18

hi Alicia - this is a theme that comes round regularly in social enterprise land, and to which there as many views and lengthy debates....

however, there's a consensus that this recorded webinar introducing the different principle routes through which a social enterprise can incorporate itself is a good 'primer' - (especially as there are 14 different legal forms in total to pick from...)

and I'm told I have a reputation for social enterprise legal forms, governance, and financing, with various national sector bodies (including some of the regulators!) so happy to find a time sometime to have a chat if you'd like - just direct message me :-)


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