A social enterprise is a business that puts social purpose at the heart of everything it does, reinvesting the profits it makes towards achieving that purpose. Well known examples of social enterprises include The Big Issue and Jamie Oliver's restaurant Fifteen.
Leeds has a vibrant social enterprise sector which the Council is committed to helping to grow. We work in partnership with Leeds Community Foundation and Voluntary Action Leeds, who provide grants and assistance to the sector. We also provide part of the funding for the Community Foundation's Yorkshire Venture Philanthropy Programme, set up in partnership with ERDF and Key Fund to support the growth of social enterprise in the region.
The programme consists of financial and practical support for social enterprises including small grants up to £5,000 to support the development of enterprising ideas and plans. There’s also a combined grant/loan scheme for investments up to £100,000 to support well-developed business plans. A database of useful contacts and advice is available to help you develop your business ideas.
If you’re a community group with a good business idea, or an existing social enterprise looking to develop your plans, find out more by visiting the YVPP website or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Leeds Community Foundation also runs the ‘Ideas That Change Lives’ programme in partnership with SEE Ahead. The programme provides grants of up to £10,000 to develop services that help people with a learning disability, people with a physical disability or sensory impairment and people with mental health needs to live independently.
Discretionary rate relief is available to non-charitable social enterprises in Leeds. Guidance and an application form for rate relief is available in the ‘Documents’ section on the Relief from Business Rates page.
A wide range of practical advice and support for social enterprise is available through organisations such as the Social Enterprise Yorkshire & Humber, the national Social Enterprise Coalition and the Business Link website.