Social Enterprise Support

OSCR Social Enterprise Guidance

Scotland’s Charity Regulator, OSCR, has published new guidance for Social Enterprises thinking about becoming a charity in Scotland.

The Social Enterprise in Scotland Census 2015 found that there are around 3,500 Social Enterprises registered as charities in Scotland.

The new guidance, set out in the form of FAQs, addresses some of the questions applicants have about becoming a charity, as well as some of the issues OSCR frequently sees in applications from Social Enterprises.

What is Social Enterprise?

Social Enterprise Scotland helps to define Social Enterprise as..“… trade[ing] in all markets, selling goods and services to individual consumers, local authorities, government and private businesses. Social enterprises aim to make a profit just like any private sector business. However, all profits or surpluses are always reinvested back into their social and environmental purposes. Social enterprises have an “asset lock” on all their buildings, land and other assets. Without making a profit, social enterprises can’t meet their social and environmental mission; they must be sustainable. The term “social enterprise” shouldn’t be confused with private businesses that simply operate in an ethical way, charities that don’t do business (or trade very little) or public sector arms-length companies (ALEOs), though some of these may be on a journey as “emerging” social enterprises you can get

The Voluntary Code of Practice for Social Enterprise in Scotland from

Where can you support as a Social Enterprise in Scotland?

Highland Third Sector Interface 
The HTSI and in particular Partners can support you setting up you governance structures, getting policies and procedures in place and resolving issues with established Social Enterprises.  You will also be able to access training, support services and key networking opportunities within Highland though the HTSI.  Membership to the HTSI is free. 

Social Enterprise Scotland
SES act as the national voice for Social Enterprise within Scotland.  They are a member led organisation with a variety of resources on their website

Social Enterprise Academy
SEA provide a wide range of training opportunities, many of them free of charge, to staff, volunteers and Board members within Social Enterprises and aspiring Social Enterprises. To find out more look at their website

HISEZ is Community Interest Company (CIC) offering support and advice to Social Enterprises within the Highlands and Islands.  Again more information is available on their websiste

First Port

First Port offers Business support, funding and resources to help you start a social enterprise in ScotlandFirstport’s Award Programme supports individuals to turn their ideas into thriving social enterprises.

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