Should you have the Social Enterprise Mark?

The Mark guarantees that you are what you say you are, but how will that benefit your organisation? We fired some questions at Sophie Short from the organisation to find out.

Social Enterprise Mark

What is the Social Enterprise Mark?

The Social Enterprise Mark is the original social enterprise accreditation, which provides clear standards for the sector, defining what it means to be a genuine social enterprise.

The Mark provides independent, external verification of your social enterprise credentials, and provides reassurance to customers/stakeholders that you are ‘walking the walk’ when it comes to your social mission.

How will being accredited benefit my social enterprise?

With the Social Enterprise Mark, you can:

• prove your credibility as a social enterprise, by gaining external verification that you are upholding sector-agreed standards of good practice
• differentiate from competitors, by demonstrating you have been externally scrutinised against robust accreditation criteria
• articulate your social value – access tailored support to communicate your social value clearly and succinctly
• gain useful feedback for future development – our assessment feedback service enables you to improve your organisation’s efficiency and effectiveness as a social enterprise
• promote good practice and leadership in operating as a social enterprise, upholding sector-agreed standards and creating impact for the communities in which you operate and wider society
• be part of a unique international network of accredited social enterprises

What is the criteria for applying?

You will be assessed against a set of sector-agreed criteria:
• must be primarily dedicated to social/environmental objectives
• must be an independent business
• must earn at least 50% of income from trading
• must dedicate a principal proportion of any annual profit/surplus to social purposes
• must commit to distributing residual assets for social/environmental aims, if organisation is dissolved
• must demonstrate how social/environmental objectives are achieved
Where an applicant doesn’t meet all the criteria, we will work with you to provide guidance on the required changes.

How much does it cost?

There is an annual licence fee for the Mark, which is based on your annual turnover. To support social enterprises of all sizes to benefit from the credibility that external verification provides, we have recently introduced a lower fee tier for smaller organisations (with turnovers under £100k). Fees now start at £250+VAT.

Staged payment plans are available to spread the cost of the licence.

What do I get for my money?

The annual fee entitles you to:
• an independent assessment against robust sector agreed criteria
• display the Social Enterprise Mark as proof of your social enterprise credentials
• a listing on our directory of accredited social enterprises, viewed by c.500 visitors per month
• support and guidance in articulating your social impact
• tailored feedback to provide benchmarks for future development
• support in communicating your guaranteed social enterprise credentials

Do you have anyone with the Mark that I can talk to about the advantages of accreditation?

We’ve got several testimonials on our website that you can look at to understand why organisations appreciate having the Mark. Please get in touch if you would like to be put in touch with any of these to discuss further.