What is a social business?

Here's everything you need to know about social businesses and how they are guided by their values.

See this page in: Cymraeg

A social business is a business with social objectives whose profits are principally used for a good cause, rather than being given to shareholders and owners.

Their social, environmental, economic or cultural purpose is at the heart of what they do. This includes reducing social problems, tackling the climate emergency, improving the environment, building stronger communities and providing training and employment for those furthest from the labour market. They help build local economies, ensuring that wealth and resources are created and re-invested in local communities.

The term social business includes co-operatives, mutual organisations, community interest companies, community-owned businesses, trading charities and social enterprises.

They aim to make a profit but unlike mainstream businesses the profit is reinvested towards business growth, and furthering their social, environmental, economic or cultural purpose.  This purpose is set out in their governing documents.

Values-led business

Social enterprises are values-led organisations. These values mean they are uniquely placed to tackle the challenges facing Wales in ways which benefit everyone.

These values include:

  • Being transformative and creative
    social enterprises take action to solve problems, and bring people together to make changes that affect them positively
  • Being collaborative
    social enterprises help and support one another; they share information and solve problems together
  • Being accountable
    they are democratic, involving customers and staff in open and fair decision making
  • Being good employers
    they pay at least a living wage and treat people fairly. They deliver equality of opportunity and are more diverse than businesses in the private sector
  • Being responsible
    they value the environment and use natural resources efficiently and carefully to minimise their impact
  • Being inclusive
    they work for and serve all sections of society regardless of gender, disability, age, sexual orientation, race, religion or belief
Arfon Timber members sat on wooden frame
Arfon Timber is a social enterprise that has sustainability at the heart of its values

Are you ready to start a social business?

To find out more about the support we can offer, get in touch and have a chat with the team.

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