Social enterprise does not represent a threat to the voluntary sector, said Barbara Phillips, director of the DTI's Social Enterprise Unit, last week.
Speaking at the Acevo summer conference she claimed: "It is not a new way of telling charities that there will be less money for worthy projects.
Nor is social enterprise privatisation of public services under another name."
But Phillips conceded that the notion of social enterprise was a source of confusion and worry to some in the sector. "Neither fish nor fowl, social enterprises can be viewed with suspicion by both charities and the private sector, yet they have much to offer to and learn from both,
The DTI's social enterprise strategy is due to be launched next month.