B Develop opportunities to start social enterprises


This is about identifying and promoting opportunities for social enterprise.  This involves recruiting and working with interested individuals and organisations (stakeholders), researching what might affect potential social enterprises and developing a proposal that describes the potential social enterprise and its likely success.

What you need to show

You must make sure that your practice meets the following requirements.

a Identify and research opportunities to create social enterprises.

b Analyse information about trends that affect possible stakeholders.

c Identify and tell potential stakeholders about social enterprise ideas and opportunities and encourage them to take them forward.

d Identify what products or services the social enterprise might trade, who the target customers or service users would be and find out about the sectors that the social enterprise might trade in.

e Make sure that trading plans agree with the purpose, resources and capabilities of the proposed social enterprise.

f Reach agreements with stakeholders to set up a social enterprise.

g Help stakeholders decide what type of social enterprise would best suit their purpose, what funding or resources are available to help them and what other stakeholders they should involve.

h Help stakeholders develop an outline proposal for starting a social enterprise and test its likely success.

i Help stakeholders develop the skills and knowledge they need.

j Provide links to sector specialists when necessary.

What you need to know and understand

You need to know, understand and be able to apply each of the following.

Researching a social enterprise

1 How and where to find out about the range and type of social enterprises already in your area.

2 Where to find business information for feasibility studies (to check whether the proposed social enterprises will be likely to survive).

3 What support is available for people starting social enterprises and how this might affect the likely success of their proposals.

4 What strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for the proposed social enterprise should be considered.


National policy and trends

5 The national policy for social enterprise development, and the regional and local policies and objectives that affect your area.

6 What conditions encourage individuals and organisations to consider starting a social enterprise.  (Examples of conditions are local government support for social enterprise, changes in local unemployment rates, new legislation or growing interest in buying electricity generated from renewable sources.)

7  What external trends might affect potential stakeholders.  These might be political, economic, social, technological, legal or environmental.

8 How ‘The Business Enterprise standards’ can help individuals and organisations to start a social enterprise.



9  Who the key people in social enterprise development are in your area.

10   How to involve potential stakeholders in searching for social enterprise opportunities.

11   How to present information and answer questions to improve understanding and achieve commitment.

12   How to encourage people and organisations to be as open as possible when giving their views.

13   How to deal with conflicting views from different individuals and organisations.


Development needs

14   What learning and development opportunities are available to improve the skills and knowledge of teams, networks and steering groups.


Trading and competition

15   What affects the success or failure of proposed social enterprises.

16   How to arrange contact with social enterprises that trade in the same way.

17   How to identify which businesses social enterprises might be in competition with, and the effect this might have.

18   What the main sources of competitive advantage are for social enterprises.  (These might be providing lower-cost services to low-income families, becoming involved in ethical markets such as fair trade or providing public services.)

Personal behaviours

You need to be able to:

19   handle disagreements or resistance constructively and fairly IiP2.4

20   deliver thoughts in straightforward terms, but maintain listener interest IiP4.3

21   invite a two-way exchange of information and feedback with others IiP6.3

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