The Social Enterprise Mark was launched as the brand for social enterprises in February 2010. The Mark identifies businesses which meet defined criteria for social enterprise in order that customers and commissioners recognise that businesses displaying the Mark are trading to benefit people and planet
The Mark builds off the work done by RISE, the South West voice for social enterprise and is administered by a new Community Interest Company set up between the Social Enterprise Coalition and RISE.
Lucy Findlay, CEO of RISE and Managing Director of the Social Enterprise Mark company says: "We want the Mark to be available to all social enterprises, whatever their size or business, and applying for the Mark is straightforward and designed to be as easy as possible. We believe the sector will grow in size and strength if more people- from consumers, to businesses to the government - are able to easily identify social enterprises and the added value they bring."
Since the launch, new businesses have been getting the Mark every day. They range from Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL), London's largest social enterprise employing approximately 4,000 people; Make Believe Arts, a small theatre and education business and The Phone Co-op, a national telecommunications co-operative. The Eden Project, one of the UK's best known social enterprises, is also a Mark holder.
Mark Sesnan, GLL Managing Director: "We are delighted to have been awarded the Social Enterprise Mark - it is a strong endorsement of the fact that we are meeting our social goals and clearly distinguishes us from purely commercial enterprises. "Our approach is to ensure that the leisure services we operate continually improve and provide a basis for increasing the opportunity for all local residents to participate in affordable sport, leisure and health activities whilst developing our people and minimising our impact on the environment."
Trisha Lee from Make Believe Arts said: "As an arts organisation set up to fulfil our social mission of nurturing creativity in all children, it's really important that people recognise that what we do is different. The Social Enterprise Mark is a bold and clear way of stating that what we are doing is working towards something more than just profit."
Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK: ‘As one of the team involved in setting up the Fairtrade Mark, I know how important consumer choice can be. Cooperatives UK welcomes the Social Enterprise Mark and is pleased to encourage its take up by all social enterprises.'
For more information about the Mark and how to apply, please go to www.socialenterprisemark.org.uk or call 01392 456531