Enterprise, Employment and Empowerment

Social firms are committed to the three principles of enterprise, employment and empowerment.


Social Firms are specifically independent businesses that combine a market orientation and a social mission to create employment or increase employability for people who are job-disadvantaged. The business activities of Social Firms vary widely: from events management to building, from environmental services to building virtual worlds.

At least 50% of the firm’s turnover will be earned through sales of goods and/or services. The firm will have an appropriate legal status: it must not be governed or driven by individual profit (except for worker co-operatives). Remote shareholders will not extract unreasonable profit. It employs robust business planning which covers all aspects of its business activities.


Fpr employment social firms, at least 25% of employees will be job-disadvantaged individuals. The employees are treated equally and will have a contract of employment at or above the national minimum wage. Reasonable adjustments will be made for employees relevant to their needs. For employability social firms, the focus is on providing quality training, work placements and job coaching for job-disadvantaged individuals. Job-disadvantaged individuals should make up at least 60% of people supported, and robust systems are in place to ensure that there are positive and empowering outcomes for supported individuals.


Social Firms are committed to the social and economic integration of job-disadvantaged people through employment. A key means to this end is economic empowerment through all employees having a contract of employment and a market wage at or above national minimum wage. A social firm will make sure that there are reasonable adjustments made for employees or trainees/clients. There is a focus on maximising each employee or trainee/client’s individual ability and potential relating to their career needs and the firm’s needs.