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How to structure and set up your organisation

We’ve broken down the process of formally establishing and setting up into manageable steps.

Content last updated 07/04/2022

Setting up a social enterprise

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Introduction to social enterprises

At its core, being a social enterprise means using business models and skills to solve societal problems.

Setting up a social enterprise is a complex process. Decisions about the social enterprise structure significantly impact the way the enterprise can operate in the future.

The key decision to be made is whether to set up as a not-for-profit, for-profit, or hybrid structure. There are benefits and downsides to each approach - we cover these in our social enterprise fact sheet and guide.

Our fact sheet is an introduction to social enterprises and covers:

  • what is a social enterprise?
  • important factors to consider when starting a social enterprise
  • financing a social enterprise
  • choosing a legal structure for your social enterprise
  • setting up and operating a social enterprise
Fact sheet: Introduction to social enterprises (256KB)
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Social enterprise guide

Issues when setting up and governing a social enterprise are covered in more detail in our social enterprise guide.

Our guide includes information about:

  • factors to consider when starting a social enterprise, including choosing a legal structure
  • adding a social enterprise to an existing not-for-profit organisation, and
  • legal issues when setting up and operating as a social enterprise
Guide: Social enterprise guide (1.4MB)
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More information

We have related resources on new funding approaches, some of which can be used by social enterprises to help grow the organisation, such as through seeking impact investment. 


More information


The content on this webpage was last updated in March 2022 and is not legal advice. See full disclaimer and copyright notice.


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