Finance & Funding

All Social Enterprises generate income from trading goods and/or services for profit or surplus.

Funding and Social Enterprise

Trading occurs when an organisation voluntarily undertakes exchange of goods or services with another on a regular basis. Examples include running a shop or cafe, selling renewable energy, providing a support service, producing and selling apple juice, selling recycled goods, selling training and workshops. There is extensive guidance on what constitutes trading and related tax implications.  

Social Enterprises may also be funded from other sources and many have a mixed funding profile and receive income from other sources in addition to their trading income.  Other potential sources of finance include the organisation itself, banks and other lenders, investors, grant bodies and donors as well as in-kind contribution.  For more information click here

Planning the finances for your Social Enterprise

Understanding the financial requirements of your Social Enterprise is vital when planning the future for your Social Enterprise.  It is useful to consider what the finance is required for.

  • Getting started as a new organisation or a new project or activity for an existing one
  • Funding growth, new development or change – working capital may be needed for an existing organisation to meet the income-expenditure gap before trading income is actually generated
  • Development capital – for a new project or activity e.g. where equipment is needed
  • Capital expenditure – funding large expenditure on items with a long life e.g. for purchasing or funding a build project
  • On-going operational costs – funding may also be required to meet on-going costs, especially where grant or contract funding does not meet the full costs of delivery

Information about funding

Kent County Council - Kent County Council provides community grants and funding.

Charities Aid Foundation – The Charities Aid Foundation is a registered charity that works to create greater value for charities and Social Enterprise by transforming the way donations are made and the way charitable funds are managed.

Community Shares – promotes enterprise equity and engagement through use of community investment shares and bonds.

Pro-funding – source of funding information for charities, voluntary organisations, community groups, local authorities, Social Enterprises and other no- for-profit organisations throughout the UK. Available on subscription only. Free trial is available at

Government Grants – website with access to  government grants for the voluntary and community sector. For more details visit:

Capitalise Business Support - aims to encourage entrepreneurship by considering loan applications from people who cannot access loans or credit from banks or building societies. The scheme is aimed at working with Sussex, Kent and Surrey based micro and small enterprises and Social Enterprises in order to achieve positive social change and to bring increased prosperity to disadvantaged or under-represented groups. Loans may be provided to assist businesses and Social Enterprises to start up and, if established, to grow and prosper. Once the loan has been provided mentoring support is available throughout the term of the loan.

For more information about specific funds for Social Enterprise click here.

Contracting with public sector

Many Social Enterprises deliver public funded services through contracts with public bodies.  For more information about contracting for delivery of public services in Kent and Medway click here.

South East Business Portal provides a place to share information about public sector contracting opportunities in the south east.