About Us

A world in which there is commitment to social enterprise as a means to achieve positive social and environmental change.

Our vision

A world in which there is commitment to social enterprise as a means to achieve positive social and environmental change.

Our values
Working with representatives right across the social enterprise sector, the Social Enterprise Mark’s values were agreed as: creative, distinctive, driven, clear, inclusive. Read more about our values.

About us

The Social Enterprise Mark Community Interest Company is itself a certified social enterprise. The Social Enterprise Mark CIC joined the ranks of Mark holders by becoming certified for the first time in January 2014. Its application was rigorously assessed by the Mark’s independent certification panel. This year was the first time since its launch that the Mark was eligible for the certificate because it now derives 50% of its income from external sources and not grant funding.

The Social Enterprise Mark Company is a Community Interest Company (CIC) Limited by shares. A steering group made up of social enterprise leaders and supporters agreed that a Mark was important for the sector and together agreed its design, purpose and criteria. It was informed by the Social Enterprise Mark already piloted by Rise in the South West of England.

The Social Enterprise Mark Company is owned by a single shareholder – the RISE Legacy Trust. It has been set up as a ‘guardian’ of the share and to distribute any dividends that arise in the future for the benefit of social enterprises in South West England (in recognition of their substantial investment in the development of the Mark).

In the future the Mark is likely to increase its shareholding to other Mark holders. Currently the Board is prioirtising immediate business issues, but there are plans to expand the Board to include more Mark holders as Directors in the longer term. The current Board members are: Ian Middleton – Chair, Mohammed Ali – RISE Board member/Legacy Trust, Ian Bretman, Lucy Findlay – Managing Director of the Social Enterprise Mark Company.

As Managing Directory, Lucy Findlay’s experience in the pilot project with Rise ensures the Mark is tested and responds to the social enterprise movement’s needs:

“The criteria were tested and approved for the social enterprise movement, by the social enterprise movement. We are constantly reviewing and responding to the needs of social enterprises. The Mark is a pinnacle for social enterprises: we encourage you to stand up and be counted, and join the business revolution.

We believe it is beneficial to our economy and society to have a strong social enterprise movement and we believe the sector will grow in size and strength if more people – from consumers, to businesses to the government – are able to easily identify what a social enterprise is.”

Social enterprises are emerging as an ambitious business sector, and their contribution to the UK is real and growing. Recent data (The People’s Business, Social Enterprise UK 2013) shows that social enterprises are more likely than SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) to report that their turnover has grown in the last year. Across Britain, many social enterprises are start-up businesses.

The Social Enterprise Mark will not only transform the social enterprise movement, but will establish social enterprise as the business of choice for everyone.

Find out about our partners.

Meet the Social Enterprise Mark Ambassadors.

Find out about the independent Certification Panel

Meet the team behind the Social Enterprise Mark

Our History

RISE was the voice for social enterprises in South West England from 2003 – 2012. In 2012, the RISE Legacy Trust became the single shareholder which owns the Social Enterprise Mark Company.

The Social Enterprise Mark is the only certification authority for social enterprises. It guarantees the ethics, behaviours and motivations of a business. It explains easily the differences to customers, commissioners and investors.

Social enterprises provide products and services like other businesses, competing on quality, customer service and price but the difference is: they use the profits to help others. They are not a free or cut-price option; they use business to improve society.

Social enterprises guarantee their credentials and reinforce their values by applying for the Social Enterprise Mark.

Follow the Mark on twitter @SE_Mark, on Facebook, on linkedin and on Youtube.

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Stay up to date with the latest thinking from the Social Enterprise Mark’s Managing Director, Lucy Findlay, as well as catching all the latest news from social enterprises guaranteed with the Mark.