How to set up a social enterprise: Alison's story
Alison is 23. She lives in Edinburgh and founded Lilypads, a social enterprise which manufactures and sells reusable sanitary pads. Find out how she started her own business. Part of our Bitesize world of work series.
I never thought I'd be running a business!
- A trip to Kenya as a volunteer changed Alison's career path
- She learnt that many girls in rural communities have little to no access to sanitary products and were not taught about their menstrual cycles in school
- This has a big impact because some girls will miss school during their periods due to lack of sanitary products
- In response, Alison founded Lilypads, a social enterprise that manufactures and sells reusable sanitary pads and provides menstrual health education.
What to expect when you run a social enterprise
Alison runs a social enterprise, that’s a business with a social or environmental mission. Lilypads reinvests money they make by selling their products back into the business; this is helping communities in Kenya and the UK.
If you want to set up a business that has social, charitable or community-based objectives, you can set up as a:
- limited company
- charity, or from 2013, a charitable incorporated organisation
- community interest company (CIC)
- sole trader or business partnership.
A community interest company (CIC) is a special kind of limited company which exists to benefit the community rather than private shareholders. To set up a CIC, you need to apply to Companies House. The CIC regulator has guidance on CICs, including the forms you need to set one up.
This information is a guide (source: GOV.UK)