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

We promote the development of social enterprise as a means of addressing entrenched social and environmental problems and delivering positive change to our communities and societies.

Our work draws on UK and global experience and is delivered across more than 30  countries with local and international partners. Together, we:

  • provide social entrepreneurs with access to training, mentoring and funding opportunities
  • promote social enterprise education in schools and universities 
  • convene policy dialogues, conduct research and organise study tours to share knowledge and best practice in creating an enabling environment for social enterprise 
  • deliver international development actions that focus on social enterprise

It is a systemic approach designed to help foster a more sustainable, inclusive and prosperous future and build collaboration, opportunities and trust between the UK and other countries.

Find out more about our work and the social enterprises we support below.

Programme activities