Embed social enterprise into your institution

Transform the way you are perceived by students and stakeholders and position yourself as an institution creating social value for money

Research shows the next generation of business people measure success by more than just financial reward.

Students and graduates are increasingly reporting that they seek employment and lifestyles that enable them to contribute to the social, cultural and environmental wellbeing of their communities, society and the world around them.

This presents an opportunity for university leaders who choose to put ethics, civic engagement, social and environmental justice and sustainable economic development at the heart of their strategic plans and student experience…

… By gaining Social Enterprise Mark/Social Enterprise Gold Mark accreditation you can demonstrate to the next generation of applicants how you are creating social value for money.

The accreditation demonstrates to students how your institution plays a significant role in the social, cultural and economic development of society, and how students can be part of a social enterprise culture.


Benefits of Social Enterprise Mark accreditation

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Stand out from competitors

Support student recruitment by standing out as a university committed to creating benefits for people and planet

Collaboration

Join an exclusive network of like-minded HEIs, which are all committed to embedding social enterprise within their institutions

International recognition

The Social Enterprise Mark is an internationally recognised symbol of social enterprise credibility. Social Enterprise Mark CIC work with international partners to raise the global profile of social enterprise

Credibility

The robust assessment process is overseen by an independent Certification Panel. Not everyone can achieve the Mark, which adds to the credibility of successful applicants


Additional benefits of Gold Mark accreditation

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Proof of excellence

Demonstrate excellence in key business areas, such as governance, ethics, and financial transparency

Tailored action plan

Individually tailored action plan for continuous improvement, in line with Social Enterprise Gold Mark guidelines of best practice

Transparency

Show the people that matter – staff, students, applicants and partners – how you govern and operate your institution to create social and environmental benefit

Setting benchmarks

Measure how far your institution has come and where you want to go in the future, including developing social impact/value goals. Build on what’s unique about your institution



Get your application started today

Firstly, complete this short form to register your interest. We will then be in touch within two working days to find out some more details about your institution and to discuss the assessment process.

Alternatively you can contact us on 0345 504 6536 or via email.

Hear what social enterprise universities have to say

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 found the whole experience of applying for the Social Enterprise Gold Mark to be immensely beneficial for the University. As with many audits, the opportunity to step back, take stock and really analyse what we were doing was very valuable.

Professor Karen StantonVice-Chancellor, York St John University



“I thought that the whole process was really constructive and we learnt a great deal about our organisation through compiling the application. Richard was very supportive and helpful and made the whole process a positive experience.

Caroline BarfootHead of Employability & Student Enterprise, Solent University

“I just want to say what a pleasure the experience of applying for the Social Enterprise Gold Mark has been. I don’t think we could possibly have anticipated at the start of the process just how beneficial it would be to our thinking.

Colette FletcherAssistant Vice-Chancellor, University of Winchester

Our work with the Higher Education sector

Following Plymouth University becoming the first university to be awarded the Social Enterprise Mark in 2012, there are now eleven Higher Education Institutions accredited as genuine social enterprises, proving that they make a positive difference to society and the communities they service.

Educational establishments are under increasing pressure to diversify their income streams and prove they are in business to benefit the communities they serve. The social enterprise business model provides opportunities for educational establishments from Higher, Further and Tertiary sectors to transform the way they are perceived by their stakeholders and position themselves firmly as a business driven by social objectives.

Social Enterprise Mark accreditation raises the profile of social enterprise as being a commitment throughout the university at all levels.  This enhances and highlights it as an attractive and viable career sector for graduates at a time of high graduate unemployment, as well as supporting the local community and other social enterprises.


Social enterprise universities


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In 2016, we worked in collaboration with the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), on a project to encourage the Higher Education sector to support and promote social enterprise in their institutions.

The aim of the project was to raise awareness of how Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) can operate as social enterprises, putting sustainable and ethical business practices at the heart of their strategic direction. To achieve this, a short film (right) was created to promote the Social Enterprise Mark and Social Enterprise Gold Mark to HEIs, featuring the four pioneering universities that had been awarded the accreditation at that time, talking about the benefits of being recognised as a guaranteed social enterprise, driven by social objectives.