Social Enterprise Business Plan

A business plan is a written document that describes the social enterprise, its objectives, its strategies, the market it is in and its financial forecasts.

It has many functions, from securing external grant funding and finance to measuring success within your business. It is very useful to have a realistic working business plan – especially when you're starting up a social enterprise and looking for grant funding.

This section introduces the Business Plan template we developed for new start social enterprises. It is made up of a number of easy-to-follow sections providing an ordered checklist. These can be adapted to the needs of each social enterprise.

Social enterprises that have completed the Group Development Workshops will have much of the information needed to hand. Some sections will only need a few lines, while others will to be in greater depth. Detailed information can be placed in the appendices, so that the business plan itself is kept straightforward and readable.


Front Sheet:
  • Name of organisation 
  • Title: Business Plan (Dates: Month, Year – Month, Year)  (can be called Development Plan / Project Plan) 
  • Contact Details (Picture/ logo optional) 
Contents Page: 
  • List of contents  
Executive Summary:
  • Synopsis of the key points from the entire plan, highlights of each section of the rest of the plan.
Mission and introduction:
  • Mission statement in full 
  • Values and objectives 
  • Explanation of purpose 
  • Duration of plan (number of years) 
Background of organisation:
  • Brief history of the group, when started, who started it, why started (feasibility studies/needs analysis) 
  • Current legal structure, date registered 
  • Volunteers/ 
  • Staff Geographical location  
Context What are the needs/ gap?
  • Who are will be the beneficiaries/ clients? Relevant social cultural, environmental, economic details.
  • Indices of deprivation (if relevant, needs analysis, community assets, reference to parish plans, local strategies
Brief review of the organisation:
  • Current position SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats – external) 
  • Partner Organisations (contracts, agreements, Who? When?) 
  • Any external recognition (awards, commendations, press publicity etc)
Stakeholder Involvement:
  • Stakeholder analysis / involvement 
  • Venn diagram
The market:
  • Specific market need 
  • Users, beneficiaries/ customers 
  • Grant funding, public procurement prospects
  • Competition Scale of goods and services needed 
  • Potential for future fundin
Products / Services
  • Description 
  • Benefits / Impacts 
  • Objectives Ensuring quality of delivery, monitoring & evaluation 
  • Explanation of how your social aims are being met 
Marketing Strategy 
  • Current activity 
  • Marketing objectives and targets 
  • Marketing plan 
  • Monitoring and review 
  • How and where the business will run. 
  • Production facility/ premises (specifications, description, cost, garage needs, etc.) 
  • Equipment (requirements, cost, lifespan 
  • Suppliers (Locally sourcing, Research into pricing)  
  • Organisation’s limits (production / capacity) 
  • Environmental Policy 
  • Management team if any (number, experience) 
  • Board members (number, roles, experience) 
  • Staff (number, roles) 
  • Staff development (training) 
  • Equal opportunities 
  • Other agencies / partnership working 
  • Volunteers (number, roles) 

  • Organisational model 
  • Roles and responsibilities 

Legal/ Regulation 

  • Planning/ other permissions required. 
  • CRB checks 
  • Health and safety 
  • Insurance / Risk assessment 
Financial Performance 
  • 3-year Forecasts Income and expenditure 
  • Cash flow analysis (include different income forecast (tied in with operational limits) 
  • Break even / gap analysis (only if appropriate) 
  • Sources of funding/ finance (table to show funding / match funding / status of application / trading forecast details) 
  • Funding needs (bottom line – shortfall )
Future development 
  • Organisations limits 
  • Choices available 
  • Strategic aims and objectives (Fundraising strategy, strategy to recruit volunteers, etc) 
Action Plan 
  • Tasks and responsibilities, timetable and milestones 



Can include: 
  • Memorandum and Articles of Association 
  • Stakeholder analysis 
  • CV’s of Board of Directors, salaried staff (if any) 
  • Job descriptions 
  • SWOT analysis 
  • Customers/ Beneficiaries testimonials 
  • Information about Awards 
  • Brochures 
  • Marketing information (e.g. data) 
  • Organisational chart 
  • Legal certificates, insurance, etc. 
  • Latest audited accounts if available 
  • Further information to explain financial information (if necessary) 
  • Financial forecasts: cash flow statement, projected profit & loss 
  • Co-op definition + 7 ICA principals 
  • Letters of support 

Table: Example to show current status of raising finance to start the social enterprise



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Capital Business Plan: Social Enterprise Business Plan
Social Enterprise Business Plan
Capital Business Plan
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