FAQs

We get asked a lot of questions, so we’ve tried to answer some of them here. If your question isn’t here then please get in touch.

0131 225 4178
sfs@socialfirms.org.uk

What is a Social Firm?
Social Firms are a distinct type of social enterprise where the social mission is to create employment, work experience, training and volunteering opportunities for people who face significant barriers to employment – in particular, people with a disability (including mental ill health and learning disability) substance abuse issue, a prison record, homeless issue and young people.
Social Firms operate in any market sector and they all offer an inclusive workplace environment where people are valued for their abilities, encouraged to participate and supported to achieve. People undertake meaningful work and contribute to the success of a real business.
What's the difference between Social Enterprise and Social Firm?
A Social Firm is a specific type of social enterprise.  All types of social enterprises share common characteristics – they have a social purpose, they reinvest any profits back into meeting that social purpose and they usually have an inclusive working environment.   There are many different types of social enterprise including development trusts, community recycling ventures, social cooperatives and Social Firms.  What differentiates them all is their social purpose.  A Social Firm has the specific aim of creating employment for people furthest from the labour market.  So whilst all Social Firms are social enterprises, not all social enterprises are Social Firms!
How do I become a member?
Easy, just click here to go to our membership page. It’s free to join
How do I set up a Social Firm?
There are many ways a Social Firm can develop.  The starting point always has to be the social mission. A Social Firm is merely the vehicle through which you can support people into work so you need to be clear from the outset that it is about job creation. Then you need a good idea, i.e. one that is commercially viable. For some tips see the work that some of our Members do.
I would like to set up a Social Firm, where can I go for some guidance?
Social Firms Scotland can offer various levels of support. We offer tailored support that will grow your own capacity to progress and launch the business idea. You can contact us for a chat, or visit Our Services to learn more about what we do
Where else can I access business support and information regarding Social Enterprises and Social Firms?
Scotland is seen as a global leader in the field of Social Enterprise and Third Sector activity. Social Firms Scotland works in partnership with a number of organisations across Scotland, and each provides varied expertise and resources regarding the different aspects of our celebrated enterprise landscape. Below is a list of some of our friends and partners who offer support and guidance across the country:
Senscot – The Social Enterprise Network of Scotland
Community Enterprise – A dedicated organisation with specialist support skills which assist in the development of community organisations, charities and social enterprises
CEiS – The largest third sector business support provider in Scotland supporting development and promotion of enterprises both locally and globally
Social Enterprise Scotland – The voice of Social Enterprise in Scotland, campaigning and representing Social Enterprises at a public and policy level
DTA Scotland – The national body for community-led regeneration work
Firstport – Free business support and financial awards for Social Enterprises
Social Enterprise Academy – Leadership and Personal Development programmes for Social Entrepreneurs
HISEZ – Social Enterprise Business Support specifically related to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland
Just Enterprise – A programme providing a range of Business Support Services to ambitious, developing Social Enterprises across Scotland