"Social enterprises are the way we grow as a nation": watch our video from the Social Enterprise World Forum, held in Ehtiopia in 2019.

What are social enterprises?

Social enterprises are businesses whose primary purpose is addressing a social or environmental challenge rather than creating profit for owners or shareholders. They bring together the entrepreneurial skills of the private sector and the values of public service. They deliver positive social impact through their means (i.e. how they conduct their work) and ends (i.e. what they achieve).

Our Global Social Enterprise programme

British Council’s Global Social Enterprise programme ran from 2009 until 2022 during which time, we worked with partners in more than 50 countries around the world, drawing on UK and global experience to build ecosystems supportive of social enterprises. 

In that time, we:

  • delivered training programmes for social entrepreneurs
  • worked with policymakers to stimulate businesses with a social or environmental mission
  • helped promote social enterprise through education in schools and universities
  • convened policy dialogues, organised study tours and hosted the 2019 Social Enterprise World Forum in Ethiopia. 

We also produced much-needed evidence from around the world on the state of social enterprise, its contribution to addressing local and global challenges, and how social enterprises can be better supported. 

Please explore our collection of resources below and visit Pioneers Post for our Global Perspectives collection of nearly 300 articles.