Social enterprise mark awarded 370 times in its first year

It started slowly and had problems, but has picked up momentum, says the Social Enterprise Mark Company

Dai Powell, chair of the SEM Company
Dai Powell, chair of the SEM Company

More than 370 businesses were awarded the social enterprise mark in its first year, according to the Social Enterprise Mark Company. The mark was launched on 1 February last year.

Dai Powell, chair of the SEM Company and chief executive of the social enterprise the HCT Group, told Third Sector the mark had "started more slowly and picked up more quickly" than had been expected, but had done well in its first year.

"We had some problems," he said. "We had website difficulties and we’ve had to streamline the application process, but it’s now going well. We’ve now got about 10 applications a week."

He said the concept of social enterprise was threatened by both public and private sector organisations declaring themselves to be part of the movement. Social enterprise, he said, needed to establish a clear definition for itself, something the mark provided.

"We’ve got to have one definition," said Powell. "Some people advocate that profit-making social business is all right; others say that there should be a stricter asset lock than the one we have.

"But we think our definition covers the social entrepreneurs who are actually out there doing business."

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