You must choose a business structure if you’re starting a business that helps people or communities (a ‘social enterprise’).
If you want to set up a business that has social, charitable or community-based objectives, you can set up as a:
- limited company
- charity, or from 2013, a charitable incorporated organisation
- community interest company (CIC)
- sole trader or business partnership
We promote the development of social enterprise as a means of addressing entrenched social and environmental problems and delivering positive change to our communities and societies.
Our work draws on UK and global experience and is delivered across 29 countries with local and international partners. Together, we:
- provide social entrepreneurs with access to training, mentoring and funding opportunities
- promote social enterprise education in schools and universities
- convene policy dialogues, conduct research and organise study tours to share knowledge and best practice in creating an enabling environment for social enterprise
- deliver international development actions that focus on social enterprise
Community interest companies community interest companies CICs
A CIC is a special type of limited company which exists to benefit the community rather than private shareholders.
To set up a CIC, you need to apply to Companies House, and:
- include a ‘community interest statement’, explaining what your business plans to do
- create an ‘asset lock’- a legal promise stating that the company’s assets will only be used for its social objectives, and setting limits to the money it can pay to shareholders
- get your company approved by the community interest company regulator- your application will automatically be sent to them