A Survey of Social Enterprises Across the UK

The Small Business Service (SBS),

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IFF Research Ltd

Year: 2005

This report details findings from a ground-breaking survey of Social Enterprises across the United Kingdom. The survey involved telephone interviews with a total of 8,401 organisations, of which 1,480 were longer interviews conducted with organisations meeting the survey’s definition of a social enterprise, namely that:
  • Their regular, everyday activities involve providing products or services in return for payment;
  • At least 25 per cent of their funding is generated from trading, i.e. in direct exchange of goods and services
  • They have a primary purpose to pursue a social or environmental goal (as opposed to being purely or mainly profit driven);
  • They principally re-invest any profit or surplus that is made in the organisation or community to further the social or environmental goal.

The survey represents a first step towards improving understanding of social enterprise activity in the UK. It describes their characteristics in terms of what it is that makes them social enterprises, how they derive their income and the number of people who work for them.

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