How to develop social and community enterprises

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Social and community enterprises (SCEs) run shops and pubs, they provide transport, support fun activities, enable people to share accommodation and support them to be self-employed.  

They are financially self-sufficient, have 1 to 5 people working full/part time, and key to their success is making  a social impact. This is central to their business.

Asset-based Areas stimulate SCEs to break away from conventional support service models to ones that value and develop the skills and abilities of people who use services and communities so they can get better value of money out of their own and organisational assets.

Want to stimulate asset-based SCE development?

Try the following:

  • raise awareness amongst people who use services and communities of the possibilities of establishing their own, or being part of SCEs. Broker links with supportive community and user-led organisations, community builders and SCE development organisations.
  • Support SCE start-ups - through tailored training and development, on-line materials and small scale commissioning.
  • Use alliance contracting – to help small SCEs that do not have the time and expertise to bid for contracts. Partner them with other suppliers to negotiate a single contract focussed on a set of outcomes with performance judged overall. Require all contracted suppliers to use alliance contracting and contribute to SCE development by sharing expertise, staff development and other activities.

Community Catalysts can help you to scope, develop and sustain your community enterprise sector, and have a national network of enterprises called Small Good Stuff.

Links to all of the above innovations and more can be found in:

Alex Fox. (2017)   The Asset-Based Area. Online: Coalition for Collaborative Care, Shared Lives Plus, and Think Local, Act Personal. Available at:

Richard Field and Clive Miller. (2017) Asset-based commissioning: better outcomes, better value. Bournemouth: Bournemouth University. Available as a free download, in both its full (215 pp) and digested versions (11pp), from (opens new window)