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Support for social enterprises

Manchester Community Central Factsheets

Factsheet 11: Social enterprise – Social enterprises are businesses which have a clear social and/or environmental mission, which generates the majority of their income through trade and reinvest the most of their profits to tackle the problems they were set up to address.


Greater Manchester Social Enterprise Network – Hosted by Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation (GMCVO), the GM Social Enterprise Network is a place to connect with other social enterprises in the city and find essential free support and advice. We recommend that everyone who is part of a social enterprise or wanting to set up a social enterprise should join this network.

Manchester Social Entrepreneurs meetups – The meetups focus on adding value by bringing like-minded people together to discuss their projects, ideas and opinions and help them make a change, find a passion, or enable their willingness to help.


Start your social enterprise guide by Social Enterprise UK – this guide takes you through the essentials, and focusses on the parts that are most important in a social enterprise

Setting up a social enterprise – guides from Gov.uk on setting up a social enterprise

Setting up a Community Interest Company (CIC) Social Enterprise registration guide – A how to guide for setting up a Community Interest Company (CIC) social enterprise, registration and company formation. It provides you with step-by-step advice and links to everything you will need. For further guidance on setting up a Community Interest Company (CIC), visit our Starting a group page

Charity Commission guidance on converting a Community Interest Company to a CIO – If you are a Community Interest Company (CIC) you can apply to convert directly to a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO)

Business and IP Centre Manchester – The British Library Business and IP Centre National Network provides entrepreneurs and SMEs across the UK with free access to databases, market research, journals, directories and reports worth thousands of pounds.

Business advice

Manchester City Council provides free instant live chats with qualified business advisors and business support services for business start-ups delivered by MiVentures

Growth Company – GC Business provides end-to-end business support and financial services for public, private and third sector commissioners, designed to create jobs, enable growth and improve lives.

PeoplePlus Enterprise are funded by the government to offer free business advice from expert advisors alongside: Online learning; E-workshops and seminars; Networkingand peer-mentoring; Financial advice from a specialist and Health and wellbeing support.

Complete Business Reference Advisor COBRA – Search COBRA to find business ideas, research a market and trade legally. Get started in changing career or being your own boss:

  • Research your target market
  • Write a business plan and understand how to apply your skills
  • Find business support and funding providers in your local area

Funding, social investment and community shares

GMCVO – GMCVO offer advice, support and social investment to organisations trading for social good in Greater Manchester

One Manchester social investment strategy – One Manchester, are always looking at ways to support new and growing businesses

Big Society Capital –Get Informed offers practical support, guidance and information to help board members of charities and social enterprises understand the opportunities and risks of social investment

Good Finance – helps charities and social enterprises navigate the world of social investment

Big Issue Invest offer loans to social enterprises

Social Investment Explained – The aim of this guide, produced by Social Enterprise UK and the Big Lottery Fund, is to give you an overview of the UK’s social investment market and help you to work out whether and how it’s relevant to your organisation

What are community shares? An animated guide
Community Shares refers to the sale of shares in enterprises serving a community purpose. This type of investment has been used to finance shops, pubs, community buildings, renewable energy initiatives, local food schemes, along with a host of other community based ventures.


Support for community businesses

Locality define a community enterprise as: ‘a business which is working to create and retain wealth and employment in a defined community of place (a neighbourhood) or of interest (a group linked by a common interest) and which is controlled by that community. A community enterprise trades on a ‘not for personal profit’ basis.’ Locality have templates, toolkits, legal guidance and other useful resources to help you start up and run your community enterprise. Click here to view the resources

Resources for community enterprises with an asset – If your community enterprise owns or manages land or buildings, or plans to, have a look at these useful resources to help you create a successful asset