How can the Social Enterprise Mark benefit your business?

Why not ask our Mark Holders?

The Mark helped Café Sunlight win more than £35k new business.  They achieved approved status as an event caterer at Oxford Town Hall.  Cafe Sunlight said: “This is related to the 50in250 campaign,  and there is no doubt in my mind that the track record of venues/clients picked up from 50in250 enabled us to successfully bid for Oxford.”

“As a certified social enterprise, our ethos is “for patients, not for profit”. The Social Enterprise Mark proves our values and purpose in delivering the best possible care to our patients.” Dr Mark Reynolds, Integrated Care 24

Porchlight have noticed how the Social Enterprise Mark has helped impact the decisions of commissioners and donors. Stakeholders recognise their social mission and social value by looking for the Social Enterprise Mark.

The Social Enterprise Mark has helped to strengthen brand values and differentiates Carn Brea Leisure Centre from their competition as an ethical organisation working for the good of the community. The Social Enterprise Mark perfectly fits with their brand ethos and values. It is the ideal way to demonstrate their ongoing social values as part of a wide network of other certified social enterprises.

See more Social Enterprise Mark Holders’ case studies and testimonials.

Still not sure?

Only those organisations displaying the Social Enterprise Mark have been through an annual assessment process, backed by an independent Certification Panel, and are licensed to call themselves certified social enterprises. Not everyone can achieve the Social Enterprise Mark, but we always give advice on how to reach our standards.

The Social Enterprise Mark is for those that are committed to genuine social enterprise principles and want to demonstrate the truth about their business. For enhanced accreditation and social enterprise excellence, apply for the Social Enterprise Gold Mark

Download the infographic to help you decide which Mark is right for you.

Benefits of the Social Enterprise Mark

  1. The Social Enterprise Mark is the only international certification for social enterprises. It acts as a guarantee that profits are used for purpose, not for shareholders.
  2. It provides differentiation from competition by proving you are genuinely ‘trading for people and planet’. It protects your business integrity, and reinforces your values.
  3. It delivers national campaigns designed for you to celebrate your certified status, to raise your profile and increase your sales.
  4. It provides access to marketing support and collateral to make it easy for you to communicate your prestigious status to all of your stakeholders.
  5. It is a network of innovative, certified social enterprises, aspiring to affect a ‘Fairtrade’ style change in buying behaviour – putting people and planet before shareholder profit.
Feature of the Social Enterprise Mark Benefit to your business
The Mark uniquely certifies genuine social enterprises with increasing exposure and visibility because:
The Mark is recognised by the public sector e.g. NOMS who have agreed the criteria as a way of investing social enterprise resources;
We’re working with the NHS to increase recognition and understanding – NHS auditors are actively using the Mark criteria in their audits (Audit SW);
The wider business sector who are interested in boosting their corporate responsibility credentials.
Positions your organisation as ‘genuine’ and increases its credibility due to the Mark guarantee because:
It clearly displays your values, reinforcing your brand;
It differentiates your organisation from the competition;
It increases your competitive advantage towards ethical buyers;
It provides independent certification against criteria agreed by the UK social enterprise sector in 2009.
Campaigning with national reach to raise the profile of certified social enterprises, with the provision of tools to engage new customers
National media and social media campaign on ‘trust’ In January 2015, featuring in the Daily Express, Daily Star, The Sun and regional newspapers, our trust survey results were highlighted in these national titles and reached a combined circulation of over 3 million people – with readership figures at double that. We reached in the region of 200,000 twitter followers, and engaged more than 6000 facebook users – these numbers continue to grow with many more reading about it in Pioneers Post, on our website, Google+, and Linkedin . The 2degrees network featured it as well as appearing as guest blogs on Mark Holder websites. Mark Holders took advantage of the momentum created nationally, to be recognised and trusted through their Social Enterprise Mark.
Campaigning for social value to be recognised in health and social care services On national Social Enterprise Day 2014 (20 November), we wrote to all the accountable officers of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to ask them to make contact with certified social enterprises in their area and beyond. Our Mark Holders recognised the importance of this work, advised us which CCGs they have relationships with (or would like to have) so that we could mention the Mark Holder specifically in the letter. This activity was so successful that we widened it to include writing to local public health teams and wellbeing boards.
The 2014 summer campaign promoted certified social enterprises through an online competition, which asked ‘what is a social enterprise’. The winner was selected at random and awarded travel vouchers, provided by Travel Matters UK. The competition was designed for Mark holders to share widely on social media, to help more people understand the great things social enterprises do.
Write to your MP about social value – respond to the Public Services (Social Value) Act, where Government, NHS, housing associations and other public bodies, are required to consider social impact in procurement decisions. The Social Enterprise Mark acts as a guarantee that at least 50% of profits are fulfilling social purposes because we have assessed and verified that. The Mark makes it easy for commissioners and buyers to identify you deliver social value. Use the Social Value Toolkit in bids and tenders to strengthen your competitiveness.
Describe and celebrate your social value by using our Social Value Toolkit, exclusively for Mark holders. The toolkit includes:
Guidelines on using the toolkit: helping you to consider all of the aspects of social value you deliver, eg community cohesion, accountability, innovation, employability
Social Value Statement: answer a few questions and we’ll create your Statement for you to promote to your customers
CSR Certificate: a template for you to update for each customer, rewarding them for their business with you
Infographic: easily explain the meaning of Social Enterprise Mark certification.
Historically, our 50in250 campaign was the forerunner to the buysocial directory. 50in250 persuaded private and public sector organisations to buy from certified social enterprises for ethical supply chains and meaningful corporate responsibility. By adopting the ethos of 50in250 you can look to develop your relationships with clients. 50in250 engaged businesses such as KPMG, Telereal Trillium, Wates Group, City of London Corporation, who want to do business with Mark holders.
Why? The Mark’s robust and independently assessed criteria provides assurance to these businesses that a social enterprise is genuine, thus providing guaranteed supply chain credibility.
50in250 provided tools to help Mark holders complete complex corporate procurement processes. 50in250 made it easy for Mark holders to fulfil procurement evaluation processes. For example, provision of ‘anti-bribery template’ and ‘corporate responsibility template’ for Mark holders.
Marketing collateral, including the licence and online marketing toolkit, to use the Mark as a visual ‘badge’ which should be seamlessly integrated into marketing activities. Highlight your status by using the logo:
• on your Website (as a hyperlink to
• on headed paper and communications including your annual report
• digitally, eg your email signature
• stickers for office windows, walls and vehicles
• plaques for an award ceremony and displaying on your office wall
• online templates for presentations and case studies.
The Mark is a credible guarantee, integral to your marketing strategy, positioning your organisation as a verified social enterprise:
it creates a visual link to explain and understand what Social Enterprise Mark certification means, as well as providing a link to others which have the Mark;
its a useful discussion topic, acting as a short cut to explain your business model;
use the Mark’s positioning statement in ‘about us’ on your website and boilerplate of press releases;
through videos on YouTube and Vimeo, as well as written case studies which highlight your organisation, the services it provides and the social impact it delivers.
The Social Enterprise Mark helps to promote certified social enterprises to a range of stakeholders.
Extensive social media networks reaching around 0.5 million people:
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Vimeo and more, promoting your activities and publicising your news through our webnews with around 3,000-4000 unique visitors every month.
Celebrating your achievements by broadcasting your news and increasing your reach to new audiences including potential customers and investors, all reinforcing your status as a certified social enterprise.
Helps you realise business opportunities through the Mark network.
Our content is syndicated and feeds other news feeds and brings your business higher up in search engine rankings.
LinkedIn gives the opportunity to start discussions about key challenges or problems faced to help formulate solutions from like-minded businesses
Searchable, online Directory of certified social enterprises:
Mark holders can promote their goods and services geographically and by name
The Directory increases your online visibility. You can increase it further by providing a reciprocal link to from your website.
The Directory helps new customers to find your certified social enterprise.
Personalised service – discuss how the Mark is working for you and explore ways of enhancing your marketing. It’s easy access to marketing advice. Our enthusiastic and committed staff team are available to provide guidance and ideas on making the Mark work for you. Just call the helpline on: 0845-504-6536.

A Mark holder said: ‘It is really useful and quite refreshing to be thought of in a personal way – with our other accredited bodies it feels a little more one way!’

Advertise products, services and new ideas on our homepage rotating ad feature and in the Mark Mall in the monthly newsletter. Only the products and services of Mark holders are promoted in these communication channels. Your artwork exclusively displayed on our website, visible to ~3000 web visitors per month
Your profile highlighted in our newsletter, to 2000 people monthly
Increase your employees/colleagues understanding of your social enterprise certification by subscribing to the exclusive Mark holder newsletter
Encourage your customers to sign up for the customer’s newsletter, which highlights the work of the Mark and the services of Mark Holders.
Meeting of minds networks – informal gatherings of Mark holders aimed at addressing common issues with shared understanding. These are dictated by local circumstance and interests and owned by Mark holders. Network locally with other Mark holders to further your business aims and provide mutual support and problem solving
It’s an opportunity to feedback to the Mark team to shape the Mark’s emphasis and activities.
Free consultation on trade mark protection from BatesWells and Braithwaite. Exclusively for Mark holders:
review your position regarding trade mark protection and other intellectual property and branding issues, such as copyright.
BWB are unique in providing legal services connected with trade marks and branding, tailored specifically to charities and social enterprises.