This page outlines the services provided by the Social Enterprise “Social Enterprise Mark CIC” targeted at other Social Enterprise businesses.
Prove your social value with the Social Enterprise Mark
The Social Enterprise Mark is the only internationally available social enterprise accreditation. The Mark acts as an independent guarantee that a business is operating as a social enterprise, with the central aim of using income/profits to maximise social benefit, taking precedent over generating dividends for owners/shareholders.
As there is no legal definition of a social enterprise, any organisation can use the term, regardless of their social objectives. The Social Enterprise Mark was developed as a means to identify and distinguish genuine social enterprises, assessing them against sector-agreed criteria.
Being awarded the Social Enterprise Mark is proof that a social enterprise is trading to create benefits for people and the planet.
An accredited social enterprise is committed to continually maximising social outputs with income generated through trading. The qualification criteria for the Social Enterprise Mark specifically requires a commitment to investing at least 50% of annual profits into defined social purposes, and applicants are required to submit social impact statements, illustrating how they have ‘Made a Mark – i.e. created benefits/impact for society and/or the environment.
Key benefits of becoming an accredited social enterprise include:
For social enterprises wishing to demonstrate their business excellence, the Social Enterprise Gold Mark offers enhanced accreditation, assessing three essential areas of business operations:
- Governance – stakeholder representation in strategy and operation
- Business ethics – complaints handling, diversity, equality, pay, workplace issues and social auditing
- Financial transparency – how financial assets, including profits, create added social and environmental impact
The Social Enterprise Gold Mark demonstrates your commitment to social enterprise excellence and enables you to build on what is unique about your social enterprise.
Key benefits include:
- Differentiate from competitors – stand out from the crowd as a Gold standard social enterprise
- Prove your good business sense
- Set benchmarks for continued success
- Be part of an exclusive network
Social Enterprise Mark CIC is the accreditation body responsible for assessing applications for the Social Enterprise Mark. It ensures the social enterprise business model remains ethical, credible and commercial through accreditation. It is not a membership body and approval is not automatic: around 30% of organisations applying or interested in the Social Enterprise Mark are assessed as ineligible. Existing Mark holders’ eligibility is also reassessed on an annual basis, to ensure they still meet the criteria. This robust accreditation process enables organisations that are awarded the Social Enterprise Mark/Gold Mark to stand out from the crowd, as proven social enterprises which are independently guaranteed to be trading for people and planet.
We have recently run a competition to recognise the vast and diverse social benefits created by Social Enterprise Mark holders. The Making a Mark competition highlighted examples of how accredited social enterprises are creating considerable social impact within their local communities and in wider society – please click here to view the profiles of the shortlisted organisations. Bournemouth based charity Help & Care were announced as the winners at our recent conference, with mid-Wales based community transport organisation Llanwrtyd Wells Community Transport named as runner up.
On accepting the award, Mark Sharman, CEO of Help & Care said:
We were both surprised and delighted to receive this award because it is not a recognition of what we do or how we do it. It is about the most important thing which is what impact are we having on the lives of people and communities. It is a recognition of our great staff and volunteer team who live our values to make a difference.
If you are interested in applying for Social Enterprise Mark accreditation, you can check your eligibility with our handy criteria checklist. Register your interest today via our simple online form, and a member of our friendly team will be in touch to discuss the next steps of your application. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0345 504 6536 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.