What is the Social Enterprise Mark?

The only internationally available accreditation for social enterprises


Prove your social enterprise credentials with the only internationally available social enterprise accreditation, which enables you to prove you are in business primarily to create benefits for people and planet.

The Social Enterprise Mark is the only accreditation to provide an independent guarantee of an organisations’ commitment to creating positive social change.

It provides clear standards for the social enterprise sector, defining what it means to be a genuine social enterprise.


The Social Enterprise Mark is an independently assessed guarantee of a company’s commitment to trading for the benefit of people and planet. It provides reassurance to consumers that a company is living up to its social and environmental claims.

What are the benefits?


Prove your credibility

Prove your social enterprise credentials, by submitting to the scrutiny of a rigorous external assessment process. With annual checks against criteria, you can assure customers/partners that you are operating ethically, commercially and upholding sector-agreed standards.

The Social Enterprise Mark is the only accreditation to independently assess organisations against sector-agreed criteria to provide a guarantee of a commitment to trading for the primary benefit of people and planet. 


Articulate your social impact

We offer tailored support and guidance to applicants and renewing Mark holders in articulating their social impact. We provide detailed guidance in responding to how your organisation meets Criterion F of the Social Enterprise Mark:

Our social impact questions are designed to help you think about the social impact you create, and to communicate this clearly and succinctly. We also create a Social Impact Declaration for all Mark holders, to summarise how you are striving to make a difference and standing up to scrutiny of purpose as a social enterprise. We also publish statements of how you commit to make a difference (social value).


Differentiate from competitors

Stand out from competitors, by demonstrating you have been externally scrutinised against robust accreditation criteria, and have proven that your organisation puts people and planet before the interests of shareholders.

Statistics from 2016 Social Enterprise Mark CIC stakeholder survey


Approved social enterprise status

4/5 of social enterprises use their social enterprise status in marketing their products and services* – the Social Enterprise Mark helps with this.

Create buyer/partner confidence – displaying the Social Enterprise Mark lets them know you are truly giving back for social good. 

*2017  State of Social Enterprise Report


Get noticed as an approved social enterprise creating social impact

Get featured in a unique directory that lists only accredited social enterprises and shows their social impact, which is viewed by approx. 400 visitors per month.

Social Enterprise Mark holders have their own profile on the directory, which includes details about the organisation with contact details and links to website and social media channels, as well as evidence of social impact. This will indicate your commitment to social enterprise principles as an approved Mark holder, as well as providing a public statement of how you commit to make a difference (social value).


Gain useful feedback

Our assessment feedback service* enables you to recognise how your organisation complies with the best practice criteria defined by the Social Enterprise Mark, and provides considerations for future development.

*Feedback is given after initial applications and 3 yearly full reviews


Demonstrate good practice in social enterprise

Promote good practice and leadership in operating as a social enterprise, upholding sector-agreed standards and creating impact for the communities in which you operate and wider society.


Reasons to apply for Social Enterprise Mark accreditation

How do I apply?

Check your eligibility

Check if you are likely to meet our criteria using our criteria checklist.

Please contact us if you have any concerns about qualifying or would like to discuss the criteria in more detail: call Rachel Fell on 07790 908829 or via email


Register your interest

Complete our short Registration Form and we will be in touch within 2 working days to discuss the next steps.


Find out more

Click here to find out more about what’s involved in the assessment process.


How much does it cost?

There is an annual licence fee for the Social Enterprise Mark, which is calculated based on the turnover of your business.

Fees start at £350+VAT for organisations with a turnover of less than £150,000. Staged payment plans are available to spread the cost of the licence.

The annual fee entitles you to:

  • an independent assessment against robust sector agreed criteria
  • support and guidance in articulating your social impact
  • tailored feedback to provide benchmarks for future development

With the Social Enterprise Mark, you can:

  • prove your credibility as a social enterprise
  • differentiate from competitors
  • demonstrate your good practice as a social enterprise
  • get noticed as an approved social enterprise creating social impact

Hand with coins

Hear what others have to say

“Symphonia for South Africa is proud to be the first social enterprise on the African continent to receive the Social Enterprise Mark and we have committed ourselves to encouraging other social enterprises to distinguish themselves by applying for the Mark.”

Louise van RhynFounderPartners for Possibility

“The Social Enterprise Mark a statement of quality in general, it’s about what we do… It has helped us to work through our outcomes, through the process of re-accreditation.  We had to think it through as a board and team and we clarified our overall policy and strategy.”

Robin BurgessCEOHope Enterprises

“The Big Issue was set up to find a business solution to the social crisis of homelessness. We are proud to be a social enterprise, proud to be part of a movement and the Social Enterprise Mark tells our readers just that.”

Nigel KershawExecutive ChairThe Big Issue Group

“The Social Enterprise Mark has been a fundamental part of Cosmic’s brand identity for well over a decade now, and it has proved a highly effective way to promote to the world our social impact credentials. Cosmic’s commitment to social enterprise remains as strong as ever, and the Mark acts as a regular reminder for all stakeholders – staff, Directors, partners and clients.”

Julie HawkerChief ExecutiveCosmic

Next steps