About Us:

Social Enterprise Link (Wessex) CIC was launched in 2011 to become the leading specialist Social and Solidarity Enterprise infrastructure organisation opening up opportunities for Social Enterprises in central Southern England.

We provide services for and to the Social Enterprise sector, including work with the private, public and non-trading (or voluntary) charity sectors.

Examples of our work include;

  • Coordination of the Solent Social Enterprise Zone
  • Social Enterprise Development planning for a South West Trains Franchise application
  • Organisation and facilitation of the Local Entrepreneur and Education Forum and networking
  • Coordination of the local Social Enterprise Consortia network
  • Development and administration of the Social Enterprise Marketplace
  • Delivery of Community Business Support for Southampton City Council as part of SOLinked

Together, often working as part of the VCSE we are facilitating the creation of a strong local Social and Solidarity Economy Enterprise Sector in Hamphire, Dorset, Isle of Wight and beyond.

Our mission is to help create and then maintain a sector that commands a more signifcant part of the local and regional economy by 2035. We calculate the sector turns over more than £2 billion of the 2018 Wessex regional economy and adds signifcant social value. 

If you are a Social Enterprise please Join us to take make the most of SEL's VCSE infrastructure support and strengthen the sectors voice. SEL are members of SEUK, we help coordinate Solent Social Enterprise Zone and we are working on projects to develop Social Enterprise Hubs, an on-line Social Enterprise Platform, Solidarity and Co-operative Finance and a Solidarity Economy Network.

We will provide you with services or signpost you to our expert members. We can help you start a social enterprise, buy from a social enterprise, develop your social enterprise, find investment and funding opportunities, market your social enterprise, commission social enterprises, find educational opportunities at Colleges and Universities or for anything social and cooperative enterprise in Wessex. 

About the Social and Solidarity Enterprise sector

Social and solidarity economy enterprises produce and sell with people and planet embedded in the constitution and the DNA of all social entrepreneurs. 

We have been working since 2011 in Bournemouth, Dorset,  Southampton, Poole, Portsmouth and Hampshire with social, community and map cooperative enterprises, with economic development infrastructure organisations to make this a reality.

Social Enterprise Link is an democratic organisation with individual  and orgnisational members, and we ask members to show evidence of their socially responsible production, trading and work practices.          

We believe:

  • Specialist support and advice from experienced social enterprise and cooperative development workers produces better business results than the alternatives
  • To build a better more ethical business people and organisations should work cooperatively
  • Providing products and services which are socially useful, economically and environmentally sustainable and equitable to the workforce are the fairer and more responsible ways of doing business.
  • That business surpluses used for investment in the business, the benefit of the community, dividends for members and other social and environmental purposes, are the right way to share the benefits of business success
  • Volunteers should experience mutual benefit from their activity and not used as underpaid labour. This includes a commitment to being a Living Wage employer and recognising Trade Unions
  • We support Fair Tax initiatives, responsible business practice and sensitive to our relationship public services 

We are members of a number of cooperatives, consortia, trade associations and informal networks including;

Social Enterprise UK 


Cooperatives SW


What is a Social Enterprise?

SEL draws on SEUK's description. They say: Social enterprises are businesses trading to tackle social problems, improve communities, people’s life chances, or the environment. They;

  • Have a clear social and/or environmental mission set out in their governing documents
  • Will plan to generate the majority of their income through trade
  • Will constitutionally reinvest the majority of their profits in the organisation, its members and /or its social mission
  • Will be an autonomous organisations (self-controlling)Will be accountable and transparent
  • We also add, have social or common asset ownership so when the organisation succeeds the society and community profit

And there are many in our communities and on our high streets – from coffee shops and cinemas, to pubs and leisure centres, banks and bus companies, care providers and many more. 


What are Co-operatives?

Co-operatives are a flexible business model. They can be set up in different ways, using different legal structures, depending on what works for the members.

The definition of a co-operative business is that they are owned and run by the members - the people who benefit from the co-operative's services.

Although they carry out all kinds of business, all co-operative businesses have core things in common.

  • Co-operatives share their profits
  • Co-operatives want to trade successfully – they are businesses, not charities, after all.
  • Members, such as farmers or freelancers, tenants or taxi drivers, can often do better by working together. And sharing the profit is a way to keep it fair and make it worthwhile.
  • Rather than rewarding outside investors, a co-operative shares its profits amongst the members.

Featured project:

Solent Social Enterprise Place has 3 major aims:

  1. To create widespread awareness of the Sector and its added social and economic benefits which will increase investment, recruitment, contractual relationships, CSR engagement and development of the Social enterprise sector
  2. To be a sector which is confident, knowledgeable and effective in all aspects of its economic, social and environmental endeavours
  3. To become a mainstream trading and employment sector of the economy.

Please find out how you can contribute and benefit

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Social Enterprise Link (Wessex) Cooperative CIC is business development and network organisation.

Registered address: 90 Locksway Road Southsea PO4 8JP

Website; www.socialenterpriselink.co.uk Registered Company number 07715180

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