How Do I Set Up A Social Firm? Is There Any Guidance On The Structure, Finance And How It Should Be Run?
Within the Social Firms UK Resource Centre there are several materials and tools, either already produced and available, or being produced, which aim to assist those setting up or running a Social Firm.
The Extra Elements: A Social Firm Trainer
The most useful of these is 'The Extra Elements: A Social Firm Trainer." In acknowledgement of the wealth of advice and information about general business development in the social enterprise sector already available, the Extra Elements has been designed purely to fill the gaps specific to setting up and running a Social Firm that these do not cover. It is therefore a tool which is complimentary to, and should be used alongside, what is already available. The report can either be downloaded free of charge from the Social Firms UK website (http://resources.socialfirms.co.uk/resources.php?cat=7&r_id=292) or hard copies can be bought for £10 by contacting us at: .
Other useful items include:
The DIY Feasibility Toolkit
This toolkit is designed to help social enterprises examine for themselves the feasibility of their business idea and assess whether or not it has the potential to work. Although it was originally designed with Social Firms in mind, it is an ideal resource for any type of organisation considering the development of a social enterprise. The DIY approach to business feasibility not only saves money on hiring in external expertise but also empowers staff in increasing their sense of ownership of the business and trains them in business feasibility. The toolkit costs £90 to non-members of Social Firms UK but is free to members and costs £50 to members of the Social Enterprise Coalition.
The Template Social Firm Guarantee Company
This template company Mem & Arts pdf (£10 to members, £20 to non-members) provides guidance to the process of selecting a legal structure for Social Firms, as well as a Word document template for non-profit companies limited by guarantee – this is just the first of what will be a series of templates for each likely legal form for Social Firm. This can be ordered through the Social Firms UK website's Resource Centre pages.
The Values-Based Checklist will help to outline the basic aims of Social Firms and how they can gauge their own progress within this sector. This checklist will be launched within the next few weeks and available via our website.
Unlocking The Potential: A Guide To Finance For Social Enterprises
This book, produced by the Social Enterprise Coalition in 2004, focuses on the different forms of non-grant finance available for social enterprises. It explains which are the most suitable for different types of organisation and how they can be used most effectively; it leads the reader through the application process and suggests where to go for further information. This guide will help established social enterprises thinking about raising finance for a new social enterprise in need of start-up funding or a voluntary sector organisation looking to generate income through trading or organisations interested in the types of finance available to social enterprises thinking of buying an established business and converting it into a social enterprise.
Community Foundation Network (CFN)
CFN is the national network linking, promoting and supporting over 60 Community Foundations (CFs) throughout England, N. Ireland, Scotland and Wales. CFs are charitable trusts that promote and support local voluntary and community activity.
- raise funds from all sources to give local communities improved quality of life by supporting a wide range of projects for the benefit of local people;
- respond to donors (individual, corporate or legacy) who want their giving concentrated locally, secured over time and focused on specific aims;
- use locally chosen trustees to ensure value-for-money in grants made to applicant community groups;
- build capital endowment funds, where donors permit, so that help to communities can be long-lasting;
- handle funding on behalf of Government, National Lottery and other countrywide organisations,.
There are 56 community foundations across the UK and would be worth approaching to explore options for start-up funding. However, success is not guaranteed and the aims of each CF may vary from region to region as each one might have different aims! Visit:
http://www.communityfoundations.org.uk then click on "about community foundations" and then go to the "finding community foundations" section to see if there are any CFs near you. Then make direct contact to see what the local
Access To Work (AtW)
AtW is a scheme set up by the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) that is run by Jobcentre Plus. It provides financial assistance towards the extra costs of employing a disabled person when additional costs are incurred because of that disability, and can apply to any job, full-time or part-time, permanent or temporary. More information can be found from an information sheet produced by Social Firms UK entitled "How the government's "Access To Work" scheme can support organisations to employ disabled people." This can be accessed from the Social Firms UK Resource Centre at http://resources.socialfirms.co.uk/resources.php?cat=7&r_id=322