Social enterprises are businesses that trade to address social problems and improve communities or the environment. They make their money from selling goods and services, but they reinvest their profits back into the business or the local community.
Social enterprises can take on a variety of legal forms. You should carefully consider the various options to ensure that you choose the legal structure that most suits your social enterprise in terms of management style and mission. Although professional advice is not always necessary, it is a good idea to seek the opinion of an expert before coming to a decision.
This guide outlines the various social enterprise legal forms including:
- Unincorporated associations
- Social enterprise trusts
- Limited companies with a social purpose
- Community benefit societies
- Social enterprises as registered charities
- Community Interest Companies
It also includes advice and support for setting up and running a social enterprise in Northern Ireland.