Social Enterprise and cooperative businesses mean business, economic development,employment and regeneration.

There are over 50,000 SME Cooperatives and social enterprises in Britain employing millions of people. If you have a business idea, it could benefit from being a social enterprise or cooperative

Benefits of forming a Social Enterprise or Co-operative:

  • involve workers and/or the community in the development of the organisation and its products and services, giving people more control over their working lives
  • cooperatives and social enterprises include a social, community and or environmental purpose in their legal form
  • can secure community and/or grant based financial support for their capital or revenue needs
  • put people and planet before profit often described as not for profit organisations
  • are businesses,not charities and can buy and sell products and services from which they get an income to employ people they are not grant or donation dependent
  • offer a group of businesses or individuals working together, tried, tested and fair rules for making collective agreements
  • offer volunteer opportunities

SELW believe that:

  • working cooperatively to build businesses is the best way of working
  • people who provide products and services which are socially useful and environmentally sustainable are responsible people
  • business surpluses used for member dividend, investment, the benefit of the community and other social and environmental purposes, are the right way to share the benefits of business

Social Enterprise Link Wessex

Social Enterprise Link Wessex (SELW) helps start up, new and existing Social Enterprises, Cooperatives and Mutual Societies to develop the '4th Sector'.

SELW provides support to social enterprise start-ups and existing organisations pitch for ESF and other funding partnerships.


  • Social Enterprise Job and Volunteer Club
  • Social Enterprise Business Network Meetings
  • Social Enterprise Directors Club
  • Social Enterprise business start up course, advice and support
  • Getting tenders, writing bids and souring contracts
  • Hot-desk facilities and office space to hire
  • High level Social Enterprise Training, and Consultancy
  • Office, Training, Board and Meeting rooms for hire
  • Support to Local Government and Trade Unions
  • Social auditing and social impact assessments
  • Charity and private sector trading advice support in liaison with CVS and WsX
  • Private Sector Social Responsibility Consultation
  • Social Enterprise Park support
  • Social Enterprise Health Consortia support
  • SECOM Sector promotion, trading and information distribution
  • Specialist Business Skills signposting

Current projects:

  1. Various 'Social Enterprise Parks' (the first being developed in West Howe)
  2. The Wessex 'Social Enterprise and Cooperative Health Consortia'
  3. A proposed small and medium size organisations infrastructure (SMO's) support network group
  4. Social Enterprise and Cooperative business networking meetings
  5. Social Enterprise Dragon's Den's for tenants of social landlords

Each of these needs people, time and resources. If you can provide any of these contact to express your interest.

Training Programme

This year SELW will be running a series of educational sessions which include collaborative workshops and networking opportunities:

Improving your pitch and then pitching it, 5th November, 18.00 19.30, Venue TBC

  • Learn how to sell to more people by improving your pitch with the opportunity to practice pitching the group

Make more money' for your business, 10th December, 18.00 19.30, Venue TBC

  • Learn how to ‘make more money' with an opportunity to present your business plan in a Dragons Den scenario

For more information contact:

Social Enterprise Link


John Merritt


07762 405248




153a High Street, Southampton, SO14 2BT