Business support

Enhance Social Enterprise


The Enhance Social Enterprise programme delivers business support and advice to new and established social enterprises within the Heart of South West LEP area.

What’s a social enterprise?

Businesses with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners.

In simple, plain English a social enterprise could be a business that reinvests its profits into a strong social or environmental mission whilst generating an income. This programme will also apply if you are an aspirational social entrepreneur.

How can I tell if my business is a social enterprise?

There are several key distinguishing features of genuine social enterprises, which were agreed by the social enterprise sector when the Social Enterprise Mark was first created:

  • Trading primarily for social/environmental purposes, as articulated in governing documents.
  • Committed to reinvesting principal proportion of profits and income towards achieving social/environmental objectives, taking priority over maximising profits for shareholders.
  • Earn at least 50% of income from trading.
  • Demonstrating that social/environmental objectives are being achieved.
  • Independently owned/controlled.

What’s on offer?

Enhance Social Enterprise has received funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in order to increase the number of social enterprise start-ups and to support the growth of existing ones.

Existing social enterprises will be supported to develop and launch new products and services as well as entering new markets.

There will also be support for voluntary and community sector groups that want to transition into trading social enterprises as well as budding social entrepreneurs in need of help to develop their ideas to start trading

The programme involves a minimum of 12 hours of tailored business support.

Who’s it for?

Eligible businesses based in Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay.

Who can support me?

We have a wide, experienced range of delivery partners as part of our programme.


Based in Honiton, East Devon, Cosmic is an ethical IT business which specialises in website development, IT training courses, business consultancy, tech support, digital marketing and search engine optimisation…Find out more

Dartington School for Social Entrepreneurs

Based in Dartington, South Devon, Dartington School for Social Entrepreneurs support social entrepreneurs: people who tackle social problems by starting, scaling and sustaining organisations. We help them impact urgent issues, such as poverty, health, education and the environment… Find out more

Devon Community Foundation

Based in Tiverton, Mid Devon, Devon Community Foundation will provide your social purpose organisation with specialist support to develop sustainable incomes and investment readiness to help you achieve your growth aspirations… Find out more

Iridescent Ideas

Based in Plymouth, South Devon, Growing a social enterprise economy by delivering great business support for social enterprises and charities. Support with legal status and reviews of different legal structures… Find out more

Real Ideas Organisation

Based in Plymouth, South Devon, Providing a range of services to help other organisations harness the power of social enterprise to realise their ambitions, including consultancy, training and business support… Find out more

Somerset Community Foundation

Developing sustainable revenue streams. Investment readiness. Find out more

How do I get involved?

Enhance Social Enterprise works in tandem with the ERDF Growth Support Programme.

If you are not sure of the support that you need and you are eligible, you can opt to participate in a free three-hour business diagnostic with the Growth Support Programme.

Upon completion of  the diagnostic, you can decide to remain with the Growth Support Programme and explore available business support or you can ask to be referred to Enhance Social Enterprise and request specialist support in the following areas:

  • Business Start up.
  • Business Development.
  • Business Growth.
  • Social Enterprise Leadership Development.
  • Digital Understanding and Transformation.
  • Financial Sustainability and Diversification.
  • Legal Structure and Governance.
  • Measuring Social Impact.

In order to register for the programme please check your eligibility. If you are eligible, please register using the online form.

eligibility checker buttonregister for the growth support programme

The Heart of the South West Enhance Social Enterprise Programme is receiving funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.