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Social enterprise

A social enterprise is a business that trades for a social and/or environmental purpose. Many community food initiatives, like community shops and cafes, become social enterprises and aim to be at least partly self-sufficient.

Guides and toolkits

Where to go for more advice

  • Just Enterprise: central hub for social enterprise start-up and development support; includes procurement support and learning and development opportunities
  • First Port: provides support to start-up social entrepreneurs and social enterprises
  • Senscot: an independent network aimed at individuals working in frontline social enterprises in Scotland; they have a Community Food Social Enterprise Network.
  • Social Enterprise Scotland: a membership-led organisation representing the needs and interests of social enterprise to politicians, policy makers and opinion formers
  • Co-operative Development Scotland: helps the development of new co-operatives and open up existing markets for established co-operatives
  • Highlands and Islands Social Enterprise Zone (HISEZ): supports the growth of social enterprises across the Highlands and Islands region by providing expert support and advice and other services
  • Chamber of Commerce: there are 21 chamber of commerce across Scotland providing a business-to-business support service; you can arrange for an appointment with a business advisor
  • Business Gateway:  provides information on business compliance issues such as health and safety or tax; it also runs a number of networking and training opportunities free to businesses.


  • Minding Your Own Business: an introduction to business and social enterprise for those supporting local communities tackling inequalities in diet and health (CFHS 2006)
  • Minding Your Own Business Too: examples of community food initiatives that have become more enterprising (CFHS 2009)