The Government is establishing a social enterprise unit within the Department of Health to persuade social entrepreneurs to help improve social care services throughout the UK.
Plans for the new unit were announced at the Three Sector Summit last week by care services minister Ivan Lewis.
"The voluntary sector works very hard in the community and is well placed to understand what people need," he said.
"The sector can help us fulfil our White Paper commitment to improving the quality of services, making them more flexible and available closer to home."
Lewis said a social enterprise fund would be established in April next year to cover set-up costs incurred by the project.
Jonathan Bland, chief executive of the Social Enterprise Coalition, welcomed the opportunity for social enterprises to work alongside health professionals.