Social Enterprise Mark CIC

Raising standards in social enterprise

Our Mission

To assure the social enterprise business model remains ethical, credible and commercial through accreditation

Our Proposition

Social Enterprise Mark CIC exists to recognise and build the capabilities of social enterprises as competitive, sustainable businesses, dedicated to maximising social impact above shareholder profit.

Our Vision

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

Our Values

Guardians of genuine social enterprise principles


Focused, considered and dependable

Innovative and creative

Read more about our values

About us

Since our start back in 2010, we have tried to ensure the social enterprise business model remains:

  • commercial
  • credible
  • ethical

We do this through providing independent accreditation for social enterprises.

We provide a single, recognisable ‘identifier’ for genuine social enterprises. These are assessed against sector-agreed criteria before being awarded. We also work to promote social enterprises as a credible alternative to more ‘mainstream’ business models.

Social Enterprise Mark CIC 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.

Social Enterprise Mark CIC 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).

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

Lucy Findlay

“The criteria were tested and approved for social enterprises, by social enterprises. We are constantly reviewing and responding to the needs of social enterprises. The Mark proves you’re a credible social enterprise creating social value. It is the pathway to becoming a more effective social enterprise.

We believe it is beneficial to our economy and society to have robust social enterprise standards to protect the integrity of genuine social enterprises, and to help them stand out from the crowd.  The Social Enterprise Mark is for organisations which are committed to genuine social enterprise principles.

For many businesses, Social Enterprise Mark accreditation is just the start of the journey. Our Social Enterprise Gold Mark encourages social enterprises to strive for excellence.”

Lucy FindlayManaging Director, Social Enterprise Mark CIC

Social enterprises have emerged as an ambitious and credible business model, and their contribution to the UK is real and growing. Recent data 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.

The Social Enterprise Mark aims to establish social enterprise as the business of choice for everyone.

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 Social Enterprise Mark CIC.

The Social Enterprise Mark is the only internationally available social enterprises accreditation. 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.