Community Shares

Community Shares refers to the sale of shares in a business serving a community purpose. What is a community purpose? It could be a number of things but essentially it is something which is important to a local community. It could be to keep the local post office open, or a shop or a pub where people gather. A local food scheme like a food co-operative, or a community hall, or a school which is closing down and the community have another use for or renewable energy source. Potentially the list is as long as your arm, anything which can be run as a business.
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What is a Social Enterprise?

Social enterprises are organisations that operate for a social or environmental purpose. They trade in goods and services with to the general public, private business, public sector or a mix of all of these. Social entrepreneurs grow their businesses through development of their skills, promotion and increased trading opportunities to benefit the community and individuals.

A definition that is widely recognised is:

“A social enterprise (SE) is a business with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally re-invested for that purpose or in the community – rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners”

In Scotland, social enterprises adhere to the Senscot Code of Practice which gives some guidelines on establishing whether you are one or not.

There are a network of Social Enterprise Networks (SEN) throughout Scotland as well as some thematic groups that share experience on specific themes – Sport, Health, Food and Culture.

In Dundee there is a Dundee SEN. Support is available to individuals and new and existing organisations that are looking to develop their work. There are network meetings and peer support groups to help. As well as this, there is a dedicated Dundee fund , the John Sharp Futures Fund, which has financial and development support for new groups or individuals. If you are interested please go to the website or contact Jessie Bruce on



Individuals with disabilities starting their own businesses

Social Firms Scotland (SFS) is Scotland’s support agency for Social Firms, a member organisation, providing a range of information, advice and support to people and organisations who wish to set-up, develop and grow their socially driven business.

Social Firms are a distinct type of social enterprise where the social mission is to create employment, work experience, training and volunteering opportunities for people who face significant barriers to employment – in particular, people with a disability (including mental ill health and learning disability) substance abuse issue, a prison record, homeless issues and young people.
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