What are social enterprises?

Social enterprises are businesses which trade in order to address social and environmental problems. They generate income like other businesses, but reinvest all or most of their profits into their social mission. They create jobs, reduce inequalities and are accountable for their actions, bringing together the entrepreneurial skills of the private sector and the values of public service.

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 29 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