Community & Social Enterprise

Make your ideas a reality Social Enterprise main

If you have a business idea and are considering the social enterprise route, Community Council for Somerset can offer direct support. Alternatively we can put you in touch with specialist advice organisations supporting business start-ups or expansion in Somerset.

CCS advises on:

  • suitable legal structures and governance
  • funding and finance options
  • business planning
  • project planning
  • evidencing need for funding applications
  • ideas brainstorming!

A bit more about social enterprise

Q. What is it?

A. A social enterprise is a different way to do business; profits are reinvested back into its services or the community. With no financial commitments to shareholders or owners, social enterprises are free to use their surplus income to invest in their operations to make them as efficient and effective as possible. Social enterprises are distinct from traditional charities or voluntary organisations in that they generate the majority, if not all, of their income through the trading of goods or services rather than through donations. This gives them a degree of self-reliance and independence which puts them firmly in control of their own activities.

Q. Who is it for?

  • Voluntary or community groups looking to run a village business e.g. their village shop, pub or playgroup
  • Existing businesses looking for a new way of working
  • Motivated individuals with an idea

Q. How does it work?

A. “A social enterprise is a business with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners.”

Social Enterprise Action Plan 2006

A social enterprise will generally integrate two objectives

  • A primary objective, which will be a social and/or ethical and/or environmental objective and
  • a secondary objective, which will be a commercial objective to achieve and increase surplus and realise growth like any traditional business.

Social enterprises mix social, environmental and commercial objectives but they place a clear emphasis on the first.

Social enterprises have an investment perspective. They must principally direct financial surpluses back into the business or the cause it serves, whereas social businesses can distribute dividends or create value through capital appreciation.


Social Enterprise Network Somerset (SENS):

SENS-Logo-2cSENS is the support hub for new and existing social enterprises in Somerset. It offers a wide range of activities including peer-to-peer support opportunities, networking events, signposting and training.

SENS champions ‘a different way of doing business’ and enables the sharing of expertise, ideas, information and other resources so that social enterprises can grow sustainably and benefit the local economy, the environment and wider society.

If you would like to become a SENS member, please sign up here. For any further information, please contact:


SENS is presently funded by The Big Lottery Awards for All fund, Unltd and the Yarlington Housing Group. CIC registration number: 09802495