Who We Are

We are founders of the social enterprise movement, tracing our history back to the pioneers in the UK in the early 1990s.  Now the founders are joined by Directors around the world, based in Italy, Poland, France, China and Indonesia.  All the Director are leading activists, practitioners or Academics.

The company works through Social Licences.  Working with high quality organisations and enterprises who share our values and objectives we have created a global network of activists creating new social enterprises and changing the world around us for the better.

Supporting the many initiatives around the world are a talented group of professional Associates and partners covering every field in the social economy.

What We Do – Our Record

We have pioneered the way people manage and govern social enterprise.  Setting up models of Social Licensing, Social Audit and creating new legal structures such as FairShares.

We were the first in the world to run accredited courses on social enterprise with Hull University in 2002, we have run ground breaking Summer schools with Sheffield Hallam University,  We were the first to run social enterprise courses for teachers based on our publication wth CAN in 1999 called Learning by Doing and ran many of the first courses in social enterprise in Asia and Africa.

We have developed and supported Innovations around the world, from new ways of decision making and development e.g The Barrowcliff Model, Shared Growth and Social Enterprise Planning.

We have been active in the field of research. Publishing award winning papers, and Professor Rory Ridley-Duff’s  Social Enterprise Theory and Practice is recognised by most in the field as the most important book about social enterprise there is.

We have not let up. If anything we are doing more, changing more, harnessing the skills and energy of more and more people and bringing social enterprise to new countries.  If you want to find out about our current training courses, international projects or want to use our skills to improve or develop your ideas please contact us



What is Social Enterprise

An international definition

Social Enterprise Europe has worked to develop and promote social enterprise for nearly two decades in 25 different countries. In order to continue our work with partners around the world we need a working definition that is modern and relevant.

The following definition was complied at the end of 2011 following a documented debate with our members and supporters in 14 different countries.  It was updated at the end of March 2014 to align with the FairShares Model V3.0.

Social enterprise describes (informal and formal) organisations that rely on trading for their income and consider themselves engaged in business activities.  This can include enterprises that have public sector clients where the income is predominantly derived from contracts awarded via open tendering.

Social enterprises are radically different from private sector businesses. They aim to generate sustainable sources of income, but measure their success through:

  • Specifying their purpose(s) and evaluating the impact(s) of their trading activities;
  • Conducting ethical reviews of their product/service choices and production/consumption practices;
  • Promoting socialized and democratic ownership, governance and management.

Different social enterprises may focus on one or two of these principles but we expect all ventures that claim to be a social enterprise to be able to state and justify their policies on each of the above.

Social enterprises should set their own criteria for measuring success and establish processes for each of the above.  In doing so, they will seek the active participation of their primary stakeholders. Further external assessments should be through the democratic involvement of other social enterprises and partner organisations using social auditing and accounting techniques.

“Not for Profit” is a misleading criterion. It is good practice for social enterprises to provide incentives to workers and social / community investors by sharing the wealth that is created with them (so long as the distribution of profits or payments to individuals is consistent with an enterprise’s value statement and/or social objectives).

Sole traders and social activists may engage in social enterprise.  We believe their business activities are best described as “social entrepreneurial ventures” until such a time as they represent an instituted set of activities involving a stable group of people.  We acknowledge that there is a also a wider definition of social entrepreneurship that includes individuals working to reform the private and public sectors.

We can therefore summarize our international definition of social enterprise as:

  • Business ventures that prioritize their social purpose(s), operate ethically and promote democratic ownership and governance by primary stakeholders.


The Team

Social Enterprise International’s Director team consists of global leaders in the field of social enterprise, social entrepreneurship, mutuality and co-operatives. They are based around the world and bring  a second to none understanding of the social economy. The team are backed by other experts each with specialisms such as platform design, the sharing economy, environment, marketing, business planning and product development.

Cliff Southcombe

Cliff Southcombe - Social Enterprise co-founder
Cliff Southcombe – Social Enterprise co-founder

Founder of social enterprise movement

Specialist in social auditing

Has worked in over 30 countries

Designer of several social enterprise courses




Thierry Weishaupt

Thierry Weishaupt MGEN Executive
Specialist in Co-operatives and Mutuals
International Cooperation
Manager for MGEN
Expert in developing international civil society organisations






Proffesor Rory Ridley-Duff

Professor Rory Ridley-Duff - Founder of FairShares Association
Professor Rory Ridley-Duff – Founder of FairShares Association

Professor of Coperative and Social Entrepreneurship Sheffield Hallam University

Distinguished author of social enterprise books and papers
Founder of Social Enterprise movement
Founder of FairSharesAssociation





Fajar Anugerah

Fajar Anugerah - Founder of social enterprise movement in South East Asia
Fajar Anugerah – Founder of social enterprise movement in South East Asia
Founder of social enterprise movement in South East Asia
Specialist in Social Investment
Expert in community development
Senior Partner at Kinara Indonesia





Geof Cox

Geof Cox - Global Expert in Social Enterprise
Geof Cox – Global Expert in Social Enterprise
Global expert in social enterprise legal and organisation structures


Expert in transformation from public sector to social enterprise


Specialist in working with people with disabilities.





Karen Wood

Karen Wood - CEO of NESEP
Karen Wood – CEO of NESEP
CEO of largest social enterprise network in England NESEP


Specialist in Shared growth


Expert on gender issues in social enterprise


Specialist in business and social enterprise planning




Magdalena Barabanov Zwodny

Magdalena Barabanov Zwodny - Founder of Social Enterprise Poland
Magdalena Barabanov Zwodny – Founder of Social Enterprise Poland
Founder of social enterprise in Poland


Specialist in business and social enterprise planning


Marketing and research specialist


Project management expert






Andrew Picken OBE

Andrew Picken OBE Expert in Green Social Enterprises
Andrew Picken OBE Expert in Green Social Enterprises
Former Global Director for Social Enterprise for The British Council
Expert in green social enterprises
Expert in development funds
Strategic planning specialist




Jenifer Wall MA


Jenifer Wall MA - Enterprise Education Expert
Jenifer Wall MA – Enterprise Education Expert
Enterprise Education Consultant
National Teacher Enterprise Award Winner
Social Enterprise in schools expert

Social Licence

We believe that business should be done differently.  When we talk to a potential partner our first conversation is not about money or products but about values.  Only when we are happy that we share values we then consider the social objectives we have in common.  When we discuss the business we can do together the emphasis is on sharing rather than trading.   The result is a SOCIAL LICENCE AGREEMENT.   Here are our Social Licence Holders

LocoSoco (based in the UK) a FairShares and social enterprise business that is helping to create community owned enterprise starting with eco-friendly products. Launched April 2018.

Education and Solidarity Network ( based in France) Part of MGEN the Mutual they support social economy initiatives around the worldSocial Enterprise

Social Enterprise Academy ( based in Nigeria) Providing accredited courses for 1,000s of students and 100s of schools, running a Global Fellowship Programme

For Good Causes ( based in the UK) A sharing platform enabling people to donate their Loyalty points raising £Millions for Charities and social enterprises

SLAP (based in Croatia) A network organisation supporting social enterprise in Croatia and the Balkans

KMEGA (based in Kenya) A Social enterprise working at the grass roots supporting street traders in Kenya.

STUDIO POP ( Based in UK and Chile) Social innovation initiatives and enterprises around the world.

READY UNLIMITED ( Based in the UK) Pioneering social enterprise and social innovation in schools around the world

We have worked


Social Enterprise - European work
Social Enterprise – European work


Social Enterprise - Africa work
Social Enterprise – Africa work


  • China
  • Mongolia
  • South Korea
  • Indonesia
  • Myanmar
  • Philipines
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam
  • Bangladesh
  • India
  • Nepal
  • Pakistan
  • Sri Lanka
  • Armenia
  • Georgia
  • Jordan
  • Turkey
  • Yemin
  • Japan


  • Canada
  • USA
  • Mexico
  • Chile