1. The social enterprise should be (or aspire to be, in the case of a start-up) a trading business selling goods and services whose primary objective is to achieve social, societal and/or environmental benefit and to improve the lives of people.
2. A % of income should be from traded business and the business will be financially and economically sustainable. There may be discretion shown by Oakfield Trust depending on the nature of non-trading income.
3. The constitution of the social enterprise will require that any surpluses/profits generated should be reinvested in the business or in the beneficiary community – and not distributed to private owners, shareholders, or investors.
4. The constitution will also require that on dissolution, the assets of the social enterprise are reinvested in another organisation with similar aims and objectives. Together, Criteria 3 and 4 are commonly referred to as the ‘asset lock’, which distinguishes it from the private sector. For an enterprise to confirm an asset lock, a CHY (Charity) number must be applied.
5. Any investors get back only their investment amount. No divided is given beyond the return of the investment. When the investment is paid back, profit stays with the business for development.
6. The legal structure should be, or should be working towards a Community Interest Company - ideally a Company Limited by Guarantee, or a Charity or another suitable structure as recognised by Oakfield Trust.
7. The social enterprise should be fully compliant, with suitable corporate governance, and an appropriate Board of Directors appointed.
8. They are distinct from the public sector and cannot be the subsidiary of a public body.
1. Social fairness and environmental conscientiousness should be pre-conditions of all economic activity – with all business practices expected to be honest and fair.
2. They should be good employers. Ideally, their workforce gets a living wage, with better-than-standard working conditions. Social enterprises should not pay inequitable salaries to senior management.
3. They should try to help and support one another in the Social Enterprise community. They should also, where possible, encourage the practice of intra-trading i.e., procuring local goods and services from within the sector itself.