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Social Enterprise is a term that has become part of the third sector landscape. Social enterprises come in various legal forms from a Company Limited by Guarantee, Charities (or increasingly Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisations), Community Interest Companies or Community Benefit Companies, and while they often appear to look like a private company, all social enterprises in Scotland will have an asset lock in place. This ensures that any profit generated or capital acquired is retained for a social purpose.
In essence, social enterprises are businesses that trade for common good rather than private gain or shareholder distribution: they tackle social problems, strengthen communities, improve people’s life chances and/or protect the environment as their core objectives. They are recognised through the Social Enterprise Voluntary Code of Practice.