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ESSENCE - at the heart of social enterprise in Exeter.

What is Social Enterprise?

Social enterprises are businesses that are changing the world for the better and here in the UK they contribute over £60 billion every year to the UK economy. Social enterprises exist at the intersection of the private and charitable sectors. Sustainable revenue differentiates a social enterprise from a traditional charity that relies on outside funding to fulfil its social mission.

Social enterprises operate in almost every industry in the UK, from health and social care to renewable energy, from retail to recycling, from employment to sport, from housing to education. Whatever they do, they do it differently from typical business, because they are driven by a social and environmental mission, and they are focused on the community they serve.

Having social goals does not mean social enterprises cannot be profitable; it is simply that their priority is to reinvest profits into their social mission, rather than fund pay-outs to shareholders.

Do have a look at ‘Social Enterprise Explained’ from Social Enterprise UK.

Want to start a Social Enterprise?

Sign up to our newsletter, so you get to know about events, training opportunities and business support programmes.

Apply for membership, so you can tap into a wealth of experience from other local social enterprises and other member benefits.

One-to-one support –  do set up a phone call with one of our team by emailling us This way we can understand what change you want to see in the world and provide you with the latest information, relevant to you. Some general links if you can’t wait:

Social Enterprise UK publishes a free guide to starting a social enterprise.


The CIC regulator has a wealth of resources on starting a social enterprise and setting up a Community Interest Company.