Social Firms are one type of social enterprise. Social enterprises* are businesses that trade for a social or environmental purpose, and their profits are reinvested back into the company to help them achieve this purpose. The specific social purpose of Social Firms is to create jobs for people who find it hardest to get them.
A 'Social Firm' is a market-led enterprise set up specifically to create good quality jobs for people disadvantaged in the labour market. An 'emerging Social Firm' is an enterprise that is working towards becoming a Social Firm, usually in the early stages of trading and not yet in a position to employ numbers of people, but working to a business plan which illustrates how they're going to achieve their goal. The 'Social Firm sector' is the collective term used for emerging Social Firms and Social Firms.
Work integration social enterprises are focused on improving employment prospects of people severely disadvantaged in the labour market though a range of work-based opportunities.
The criteria used to assess whether a business is a Social Firm can be found in the Values-Based Checklist. These criteria are based around three core values that Social Firms will subscribe to within their businesses: enterprise, employment and empowerment. See the checklist (available in mind-map and list versions) for full details, but key are the following criteria:
Work integration social enterprises are identified by their responses to the following four questions:
There is already a wealth of advice and information about general business development in the social enterprise sector. So 'The Extra Elements: A Social Firm Trainer' has been has been designed purely to fill the gaps specific to setting up and running a Social Firm that they don't cover. It is therefore a tool that is complimentary to, and should be used alongside, what is already available. It is split into six parts: A: What is a Social Firm? B: How does starting and growing a Social Firm differ from other business development? C: Developing the right organisational structure for a Social Firm D: Raising appropriate start-up funding for a Social Firm E: Developing supplimentary income streams F: Developing a supportive workplace.
View this three minute video ("Social Firms, successful businesses, empowering employment") explaining what Social Firms are:
For more useful case studies and videos, visit our case studies page at: http://www.socialfirms.co.uk/resources/case-studies