Monday, 26 November 2012

Free Guide Can Help Charities Adopt Social Enterprise Approach

Pilotlight and Social Enteprise UK are offering a free guide called “Why Social Enterprise? A Guide for Charities”.

The new free guide has been published in response to a call from the charitable sector for information and advice on how to become a social enterprise as they look for ways to deal with an environment of diminishing funding. Social enterprises are organisations that trade for a social and/or environmental purpose.

It is estimated that there are more than 68,000 social enterprises in the UK, and they contribute at least £24 billion to the economy. These numbers are expected to increase as social investment takes off and the Public Services (Social Value) Act comes into force in January 2013. It is hoped the Act will create more trading opportunities for charities and social enterprises providing public services.

Charities that are considering becoming a social enterprise will find this new guide helpful as it covers a range of different topics, including the important one of legal structures. They may be heartened to learn that it is not always necessary for charities to change their legal structure. In fact, some social enterprises remain as registered charities. The guide also explains where charities can trade without structural change and where they will need to set up trading companies. The guide discusses the need to have a robust business plan in place.

Pilotlight’s Deputy Chief Executive Gillian Murray, who launched the guide said:
 “In the past twelve months we have seen a significant increase in interest from our partner charities about becoming a social enterprise. With the cuts in local authority funding and changes in the way charities’ services are being commissioned it’s no surprise that charities are exploring the opportunities social enterprise can offer. We hope this free, practical guide will provide them with clear information so that they can make an informed decision.”

Social Enterprise UK CEO Peter Holbrook said: "We are delighted to be collaborating with Pilotlight on this topic- it's vital that we secure the future sustainability and social impact of our charities. Lots of information and know-how needs to be changing hands across the social economy as we deal with the economic and environmental changes we face. Many charities can have a greater social impact if they trade and reinvest their profits. Some of the most successful social enterprises in the UK today started life as small charities."

Pilotlight is a charity that brokers free business coaching to small charities and social enterprises to help them grow and become more sustainable.

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