Social enterprise in the UK: Models and trajectories

Aiken, Mike; Spear, Roger; Lyon, Fergus; Teasdale, Simon; Hazenberg, Richard; Bull, Mike and Kopec Massey, Anna (2021). Social enterprise in the UK: Models and trajectories. In: Defourney, Jacques and Nyssens, Marthe eds. Social Enterprise in Western Europe. Routledge Studies in Social Enterprise & Social Innovation. Routledge, pp. 253–268.


There is a growing interest in the social-enterprise (SE) arena in the UK, but this term encompasses a highly diverse community of organisations. In the Anglo-Saxon context, organisations have developed in different policy or business fields, with distinctive legal or governance models. At a policy level, in the last 20 years, policymakers have moved from a position of relative neglect of social enterprises towards taking a strong interest in their development. The chapter presents an orientation via illustrations of social enterprises operating in three diverse fields. It examines how social enterprises have been conceptualised in the UK by shifting narratives and social-policy changes, and provides a brief analysis of the institutional trajectories of certain SE models.

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