Social Enterprise

Arrowhead Business Consulting

Fast Forward to tomorrow's business

Social Enterprise

Social Enterprise is about doing business differently. The sector is sometimes called "not for profit" which is misleading as all businesses need to make a profit in order to survive and grow but a social enterprise is not there for the profit of individuals.

A social enterprise may take one of a number of forms -

  • A company limited by shares
  • A company limited by guarantee -[either of those might be a community interest company (CIC)]
  • A co-operative or
  • A Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO)


Choosing the right form is important as it may not be possible to change later. Its important to talk to someone who understands the sector so come and talk to Arrowhead where we have people who know and understand and work in this specialist sector - email us at

Doing business differently


Social Enterprise is more than just a different kind of organisation it's a different way of thinking. There are often multiple bottom lines. Every organisation need to make a financial surplus in order to survive but in a Social Enterprise the social purpose may be equally important. It is perhaps worth making a distiction between two different models of Social Enterprise. Firstly a charity may set up a Social Enterprise as it's trading arm. The trading arm has more freedom about it's trading activities than a charity has. The purpose of such a company is to return a profit to the charity and so is more akin to a conventional company than the second model. This is a company that is trading for a social purpose, for example to give employment to disabled people. The provision of employment is thus the prime reason for the organisation's existence and its success is measured in terns of how well it is achieving that aim. It can be argued that businesses such as "The Body Shop" fall into that category, although the purist might disagree.


There are some people setting up a Social Enterprise in order to trade without the personal profit motive. They want to focus on providing a service or delivering a product paying more attention to a wider selection of stakeholders. Company Law makes achieving shareholder value the most important focus of the organisation. Not having shareholders relieves directors of that obligation. In some ways Social Enterprise can be revolutionary!

What people say about Arrowhead


When I wanted a business plan for the bank Arrowhead were most hepful, explaining everything simply so I was confindent with the result

Julie Grinnell - CTC Tewkesbury


Arrowhead supplied excellent training to our learners

LeRoy Edwards ACETS Nottingham


We worked with Richard who added multi-disciplinary skills to a project we were working on. Was happy to lend his strength in every area that was necessary, he was clear on the scope and limit of his skills; whilst being willing to work outside of them.

Richard is skilled and diligent, with particular skills to offer, but also a good all-rounder who would be an asset to any project or piece of work.

David Hammond - Pioneer Missioner - St. Saviour's Church Nottingham




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