Charity

Today is social enterprise day. Here is a very high level look at some legal issues and topics connected to social enterprise.  A real feature (for us) is that being typecast is bad.  What ‘social enterprise’ means can be have a fluidity. And the legal options (and thought process) around that also need to be suitably flexible (and creative) to get the right legal vehicle and structure that fits with the proposed social venture (and how it might develop).

Social Enterprise

  • what is it?
  • what do you want it to be?
  • a mind-set? an ambition?
  • making the law help

What is social enterprise?

  • need to get the “business bit” right
  • need to keep the focus on the social vision

Purposes matter (my favourite topic)

  • does the enterprise ‘directly’ further a social purpose?
  • is the social purpose the reason for the main activities?
  • is the social purpose furthered through the ‘profits’ of the enterprise?
  • a mixture?

Some legal and structure points

  • structure choice
    • making an informed choice on structure
    • the dangers of apparent models
      • what works for you?
    • where is funding and investment gong to be sourced? And what legal vehicle best supports that?
    • ready for diversification? able to ‘pivot’?
  • some legal headlines
    • asset locks
    • regulators (which ones do you need and want to deal with?)
    • a myth: “charities can’t be commercial, surely?!?”
    • a myth: social enterprise = community interest company… it might very well not.
    • corporate + social: careful chemistry
    • “ethical” activities and operations
    • the rise of the ‘mission-led’ business and the legal documents that support that aim

Alan Eccles

Partner at Brodies LLP
Alan is a Partner specialising in private client (succession, incapacity and asset protection) matters as well as the charities, third and impact sectors.
Alan Eccles