Opinion: Focus on ... Social enterprises

The Social Enterprise Coalition is to launch its first UK conference on social enterprises this month, with an anticipated 600 delegates and 64 speakers.

- Social enterprises are businesses trading for a social purpose. They range from local development trusts to housing associations, and can either be companies limited by guarantee or unincorporated companies, as well as registered charities.

- The Government's Social Enterprise Unit estimates that there are more than 5,000 social enterprises in the UK.

- Famous businesses include Cafedirect and The Big Issue.

- According to the NCVO, 35 per cent of registered charity income is derived from trading activities.

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