What is the Social Enterprise Gold Mark?

The Social Enterprise Gold Mark offers enhanced accreditation to social enterprises which can demonstrate social enterprise excellence

Achieve Social Enterprise Excellence

The Social Enterprise Gold Mark offers enhanced accreditation to social enterprises which can show best practice in proof points across three key areas:

  • governance
  • business ethics
  • financial transparency

It is not just about social impact, it’s about measuring what makes a great social enterprise excellent.

The Gold Mark was launched at the House of Commons in 2014, where the inaugural recipients – Integrated Care 24, John Taylor Hospice, and University of Salford – were presented with the first Social Enterprise Gold Marks by former MP Hazel Blears.


Simple steps towards social enterprise gold

Gold Mark application process


The Social Enterprise Gold Mark is a symbol of excellence for social enterprises, awarded to organisations which can prove best practice in proof points across key business areas, including financial transparency and business ethics.

When milestones are reached, where does your social enterprise head next?

If being the best at what you do is one of your organisation’s goals, how do you know you’re on course to achieve this?

We’re proud to have developed the Social Enterprise Gold Mark, a route to social enterprise excellence, offering enhanced accreditation to Social Enterprise Mark Holders.

Your organisation will be externally assessed by our Certification Panel and asked to set new goals for continuous improvement on a rolling basis every three years.

Karen Stanton

York St John University is delighted and honoured to have been awarded the Social Enterprise Gold Mark. This much-coveted accreditation is only given to those organisations who can demonstrate they are making a real difference to their community and the environment.

We are one of only a few universities in the UK to have achieved this status and I am deeply grateful that the hard work and dedication of the York St John teams involved have been recognised in such a positive way.

Karen StantonVice Principal, York St John University

Prove your good business sense

How do you know your staff are fairly rewarded?  Do your directors receive reasonable wages?  Does your boardroom run open professional meetings?  Are your profits are distributed ethically?

The Social Enterprise Gold Mark assesses three essential areas of business operations:

  • Governance – stakeholder representation in strategy and operation
  • Business ethics – complaints handling, diversity, equality, pay, workplace issues and social auditing
  • Financial transparency – how financial assets, including profits, create added social and environmental impact

Please click here to view the full detailed assessment framework.

Colin McCallum

“We are delighted that our work in social enterprise has been recognised by this prestigious award.

Contributing to social value should be at the heart of the mission of a university and promoting social enterprises is vital to this.

The Social Enterprise Gold Mark means we stand out as a University, as part of the social enterprise elite. We are proud to show the world how  we live our mission as a university with strong social values, and how that creates greater impact for the communities we serve.

Colin McCallumExecutive Director, University Advancement, University of Salford


Benefits to your business

The Social Enterprise Gold Mark:

  • enhances your Social Enterprise Mark accreditation
  • builds on what’s unique about your social enterprise
  • shows the people that matter, your customers and your people, how you govern your business
  • develops your company culture by involving everyone in the process
  • sets benchmarks to measure how far you’ve come and determine where you go next
  • proves your social value
  • utilises independent external business expertise to address gaps
  • helps to identify your social enterprise as an excellent one

Gilly Carliell

“We are passionate about making a difference to our patients, people and partners. 

The Social Enterprise Gold Mark helps us achieve this by benchmarking and acting on these important aspects of our business. This means that we can communicate clearly to our patients, our people and our partners about how we are enhancing the services that we provide them with.”

Gilly CarliellAssociate Director of Communications & Engagement, IC24

If this sounds right for your organisation, start your application today.  The Social Enterprise Gold Mark will show your commitment to social enterprise excellence. If you’re not already accredited by the Social Enterprise Mark, you can apply for that at the same time.

The price is provided on application, as it depends on the complexity and size of your organisation. Please note that the fee is chargeable on initial application.

If you’d like to find out more please call us on 0345 504 6536 or e: apply@socialenterprisemark.org.uk. You can also view the Social Enterprise Gold Mark FAQ.