Hackney Is Social

A Social Enterprise Manifesto for Hackney

We believe that it is possible to use our entrepreneurial energy and spending power to create a fairer society with less inequality. We envision a society that is built upon caring for ourselves, each other and the planet, where diversity is valued and everyone has an equal opportunity to flourish.

We who sign this manifesto see that strengthening the social enterprise sector in Hackney is a way to achieve this vision.

In 2017, London Borough of Hackney officially became a social enterprise borough. Hackney is home to over 300 social enterprises, from well-established nationwide organisations to award-winning start-ups. But this is only the beginning.

To accompany this manifesto we have asked local organisations what they can do to promote, develop and support social enterprises in the Borough.

But first, what makes a business a social enterprise?

  1. A social and/or environmental purpose - social enterprises are businesses that exist for a social purpose rather than just to make profit.
  2. Distinctive use of surplus - the majority of profits from a social enterprise are reinvested into the business or spent directly on activities that directly benefit society.
  3. Community ownership/engagement - social enterprises are often owned by the communities they benefit, or at the very least, the projects they deliver are co-designed by the beneficiaries
  4. Fairer places to work - workers in a social enterprise are more likely to be one of the owners or managers of the social enterprise, and workplaces are likely to be more diverse than other businesses
  5. Promote collaboration over competition - social enterprises focus on working together for the benefit of society rather than competing for the individual organisation’s benefit
  6. Legally enshrined asset lock - most social enterprises ensure their assets such as property will never fall into private hands and will always be used for community purposes

Our Common Values

  • ● Engagement, Empowerment and Collective action
  • ● Inclusion, Equality and Equity
  • ● Community, Locality and Reciprocity
  • ● Autonomy, Self-responsibility and Enterprise
  • ● Honesty and Openness
  • ● Social Responsibility and Caring for Others and for the Environment

About the social enterprise sector in Hackney

There are at least 300 emerging and bona fide social enterprises operating in or from Hackney: co-operatives, CICs, community businesses, trading not-for-profits and social purpose trading arms. These range from tiny entrepreneurial luncheon-clubs to national enterprises such as HCT Group, who run bus routes and community transport all around the UK, with a turnover of £62.9 million.

What about businesses that aren’t social enterprises?

Although not all businesses are social enterprises by definition, we realise that many businesses do make efforts to contribute and give back to the community. We encourage this. We hope that all businesses continue to make improvements to be more socially and environmentally conscious.

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