Social Enterprises are businesses that trade in the market in order to fulfil social aims. They bring people and communities together for economic development and social gain. They come in a variety of forms including; employee owned businesses, credit unions, co-operatives, development trusts, social firms, community businesses and charities trading arms.
Social Enterprises have three common characteristics:
Enterprise Oriented - they are directly involved in the production of goods and/or provision of services to a market. They seek to be viable enterprises, making a surplus from trading.
Social Aims - they have explicit social aims such as job creation, training and provision of local services. They have ethical values including a commitment to local capacity building. They are accountable to their members and the wider community for their social, environmental and economic impact.
Social Ownership - they are autonomous organisations with a governance and ownership structure based on participation by stakeholder groups (users or clients, local community groups, etc.) or by trustees. Profits are distributed as profit sharing by stakeholders or used to improve the enterprise, or for the benefit of the community.
There are a growing number of social enterprises operating within Eden District. These include local exchange and trading schemes, co-operatives, community businesses and others.
Developing Social Enterprise in Eden
We encourage the development of social enterprises in the district. Such enterprises have the potential to contribute to new job creation, generate additional household incomes and address the challenge facing rural services for example, through the establishment of a community-owned village shop and post office.
Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership
The Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership conducted a research survey to identify gaps and barriers in the provision of support to social enterprises.
For further information