Social enterprises are businesses set up for a social purpose – to solve a problem in society. They also have to achieve financial goals but this comes second to their social goals. Social enterprises are not-for-profit organisations – they have to make a profit to keep going and grow, but all profits are ploughed back into their organisation to further their aims. The staff get paid salaries but social enterprises have ‘asset locks’ which means no (or sometimes low) distribution of profits.
At least 50% of their income is generated from sales which enables them to be financially sustainable and not dependent on grants or donations. In contrast, ‘for profit’ organisations have financial profit as their reason for existing. Many ‘for profit’ companies also have social aims and do a lot of good but unless they have an ‘asset lock’ they are not social enterprises.
Brightkidz was set up as a social enterprise to help promote walking to school and road safety for children. Sales of products such as reflectors and high vis waistcoats enable Brightkidz to earn the income needed to keep going. This also funds the development of more products, resources and projects with schools to support active travel initiatives.
For more information about social enterprises in the UK visit: