Community-based day activities and supports for people with learning disabilities

Key task 7 - Social firms

A Social Firm is one type of social enterprise. Other types of social enterprise include development trusts, cooperatives, credit unions and community businesses. A social enterprise is a business that trades for a social purpose.

A Social Firm is a business set up specifically to create employment for disabled people. There are 3 core values that Social Firms will subscribe to within their businesses, orientated around Enterprise, Employment and Empowerment:

Enterprise - Social Firms are businesses that combine a market orientation and a social mission ('businesses that support’ rather than 'projects that trade’):

Employment - Social Firms are supportive workplaces where the working environment is one that provides all employees with support, opportunity and meaningful work:

Empowerment - Social Firms are committed to the social and economic integration of disabled people through employment. A key means to this end is economic empowerment through the payment of market wages to all employees:

From: Social Firms UK website:

Business plan outline

Broadly the following subject areas will have to be covered:

1 Introduction or synopsis (some would say Executive Summary). This tells the reader what the rest of the document will explain.

2 The product or service. What it is, why it is so wonderful.

3 The market Who will buy it. What they are like. Where they are. How many of them there are. Why the product will be of benefit to them. Why it is better than any alternative they might buy.

4 The marketing plan. How the benefits of the product will be explained to, and made irresistible to 3.

5 The organisation of production . delivery of service. What needs to be done to create 2 and get it to 3, reliably and at minimum internal cost. What inputs are required, where they will come from, how supply continuity and quality will be assured. What processing is required, what equipment will be needed.

6 People Who we have on the team. Why they are the perfect people to carry out 5 and 4. Could include sub contractors.

7 Business structure. Who owns, who controls, who employs, by what mechanism, and why.

8 Premises What it takes to house 6 and what they need for 5 as close as possible to 3 and contributing to 4. Why the chosen premises fits.

9 Financial projections Costs of setting up. Fixed capital and working capital requirements. Cash flow projections for at least three years. Notes explaining the assumptions upon which these figures are based. Profit and loss projections for at least three years. Projected balance sheets to correspond.

10 Risk analysis Possible constraints such as: planning permission, legal requirements, policies, insurance, time factors - and how you will deal with them.

For more information go to Co-operative social firms

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