A social enterprise is a business with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners.
Social enterprises tackle a wide range of social and environmental issues and operate in all parts of the economy. By using business solutions to achieve public good, the Government believes that social enterprises have a distinct and valuable role to play in helping create a strong, sustainable and socially inclusive economy.
Social enterprises are diverse. They include local community enterprises, social firms, mutual organisations such as co-operatives, and large-scale organisations operating nationally or internationally. There is no single legal model for social enterprise. They include companies limited by guarantee, industrial and provident societies, and companies limited by shares; some organisations are unincorporated and others are registered charities.
The Selby Trust was founded in 1992, through a partnership of on-site organisations, local individuals in the community and councillors. The trust was developed to prevent the closure of the Selby Centre. It has since continued to establish itself as a self- sustainable social enterprise, housing voluntary and community organisations and delivering Neighbourhood Renewal projects in North London.
The Trust has a clear vision of its priorities and these can been summarised in three themes.
- Theme 1- a successful managed workspace housing organisations and people from many cultures in one community.
- Theme 2 - a centre of excellence for community development, where people learn and become equipped to transform their own communities.
- Theme 3 - a hothouse for community economic development.
The Selby centre services reach culturally diverse communities facing social exclusion. Selby and the other on-site social enterprises together employ 480 full-time and part-time staff. The centre provides on-site capacity building support to the voluntary and community sector through Haringey Training Network. The centre contributes towards the incubation and hot housing of social enterprises. It provides Money Management advice and sign-posting access to financial support.
The Selby Centre is utilised by 1,000 people on a daily basis, who access:
- employment brokerage
- social and cultural activities within the centre.
Selby uses arts, culture and sports to enable people to engage with learning. The Selby Centre aspires towards its motto of "Many Cultures, One Community."
Social Enterprise London provides a range of services to the social enterprise sector. The Business Services team is responsible for developing and delivering social enterprise business support to social enterprises in London and to members of the London Social Enterprise Network. SEL is the only social enterprise agency with a major research and policy function. The Policy and Research team provides research, analysis, advocacy and outreach work on developments in social enterprise and believes strongly in linking theory and practice.
Social Enterprise London offers the following services:
- Consultancy – business planning, social enterprise support, sustainability planning, diagnosing needs and devising development strategies
- Research, analysis and mapping
- Strategy implementation and cross-community coalition building
- Event management