About us

Social Firms UK, 1

Introduction to Social Firms UK

Social Firms UK is the national  membership and support organisation for the development of the Social Firm and Work Integration Social Enterprise (WISE) sector in the UK. These are employability-focussed social enterprises that believe that everyone has the right to be employed and support those furthest from the labour market.

A Social Firm is a market-led social enterprise set up specifically to create good quality jobs for people severely disadvantaged in the labour market.

A Work Integration Social Enterprise (WISE) focuses on improving employment prospects for those furthest from the labour market though a wider range of work-based opportunities.

Vision and Mission

Vision: Everyone has the opportunity to be employed

Mission:  To support, strengthen and grow the Work Integration Social Enterprise sector so that more people facing the most significant barriers to work can gain employment

Supporting Employability-Focussed Social Enterprises

Social Firms UK carries out lobbying and awareness-raising activities, research and practical initiatives to support employability focused social enterprises across the UK.

  • We operate the only accredited quality scheme in the social enterprise sector (Star).
  • Our website offers a wide range of technical resources for start-up and established employability-focussed social enterprises.
  • We introduce goods and services from our members to a wide consumer and business market.
  • We offer a range of visits across the sector to share good practice and for educational, training and personal development.

Supporting the Corporate Sector

Increasingly the Corporate Sector seeks to purchase services and supplies from social enterprises. We offer expertise and management in developing procurement strategies that develop values-led supply chains.

  • We manage key stakeholder relationships.
  • We provide opportunties for pro bono support and secondments/internships for career development,
  • We promote the development of ethical purchasing through our Just Buy campaign.
  • We make goods and services easy to find through our dedicated inter-trading website www.justbuy.org.uk.
  • We offer a range of visits to employability-focussed social enterprises for training and professional development.

Supporting the Statutory and Government Sector

  • We carry out research and manage projects to support policies and priorities.
  • We provide advice and guidance based on the knowledge and expertise of our members.
  • We offer a range of visits to employability-focussed social enterprises for professional and personal development purposes.

Project and Consultancy

  • We offer Consultancy to the social enterprise sector and to the Corporate and Statutory sectors.
  • We undertake research among our members and for our members.
  • We work across the UK and with a range of partners in the rest of the European Union.

Conferences and Seminars

  • We organise a national conference on a bi-annual basis. 
  • We organise fact-finding and information sharing roadshows throughout the UK for Government Departments
  • We liaise with conference organisers both nationally and internationally to identify expert speakers and practitioners on a range of employability topics.

International Work

  • Social Firms UK is internationally recognised as the foremost expert in sustainable real-job creation for those furthest from the labour market.
  • We provide speakers and expertise for conference and seminar organisers globally.
  • We liaise with international partners to develop and deliver trans-national projects to build and support the employability-focussed social enterprise sector in other countries.


Information about our activities in 2011-12 can be found in our 2011-12 Annual Report

Click here to request more information.

Organisation structure

Social Firms UK
Social Firms UK is registered as a charity in Scotland No. SC030949 and is a Company Limited by Guarantee registered in Scotland No. 214915. The registered address is Caledonian Exchange, 19A Canning Street, Edinburgh EH3 8HE.  Our head office address is Unit 7, Regal Chambers, 49-51 Bancroft, Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1LL. 

Social Firms UK Ventures Ltd
Social Firms UK has a wholly owned subsidiary called Social Firms UK Ventures Ltd which is registered as a Company Limited by Guarantee in England No.05165291.  The registered office for this company is Unit 7, Regal Chambers, 49-51 Bancroft, Hitchin, Hertfordshire, SG5 1LL