What is a social enterprise?

Unlike a traditional business which focuses on making profits for its owners or shareholders, a social enterprise uses business practices to achieve socially-positive goals. Social enterprises aim to make a financial surplus or profit, but would responsibly reinvest it back into the company’s social aims. Social enterprises can be both community interest companies (CICs) have charitable status, or be a community benefit society or credit union. 

There are around 150 social enterprises in the Forth Valley area – they trade fully or partly i.e. they do not rely on grants but they can be commissioned to deliver services from public sector partners. The surplus they make is invested back in the local community or their services.  A social enterprise could be formed to deliver youth activities, run a community hall, sell donated items or achieve other goals within a community.

How do I start a social enterprise?

There are a number of ways you can establish a social enterprise and a number of different legal structures that can be used. It is best to seek advice from the local TSI in your area to find out more and talk through what your plans are for your social enterprise? Please find details of the contacts below for each area. For more information on social enterprise support, you can also go to the Resource and Support section.


Forth Valley Social Enterprise Network (FVSEN) is network of social enterprises working across the Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire areas. It is supported by the three Third Sector Interfaces or TSIs covering the region, CTSI, SVE and CVS Falkirk.

FVSEN is free to join and acts as a forum for:

• Peer support and information sharing
• Voice to the social enterprise sector
• Potential inter-trading
• Engagement with policy makers, funders and other strategic partners

Join FVSEN and the Directory

To join the FVSEN, we request that you first become a member of your local TSI. This will allow you to access a wider range of support to help you run your social enterprise including funding, volunteering, capacity building, training and general information and local support.

To become a member please contact:

Clackmannanshire – anthea.coulter@ctsi.org.uk

Stirling – lee.stevenson@sventerprise.org.uk

Falkirk – alex.bewley@cvsfalkirk.org.uk

Once you are a member of the relevant TSI,  we will ask you to complete a directory registration form which gives us authorisation to allow your details to be published on the public FVSEN online directory if you wish, and communicate with you around FVSEN information and other relevant information for your social enterprise.