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Social Enterprise

HTSI aims to promote and develop social enterprise in the Inner Moray Firth and Wester Ross, creating a conducive environment for social enterprises to thrive.


If you have a social enterprise idea and need guidance and support to set it up, or if your organisation is already established but you want to develop a new project, we are here to help you achieve all your organisational goals. 

Contact us:
Phone: 01349 864289

What we do:

What is a Social Enterprise?

Social Enterprises primarily exist to trade as a means to solve a social or environmental problem and are usually not for profit organisations.

They earn income, but at the same time achieve social and environmental goals, whilst also contributing to the economy. 

A social enterprise will bring in most or all of its income through selling goods or services. It will also have clear rules about what it does with its profits, reinvesting these to further the ‘social mission.'

Their assets and their operating profits cannot be freely distributed to owners and shareholders. All funds raised have to go back to the organisation and if a social enterprise is shut down and its assets sold off, any residual funds are handed to another ‘asset locked’ organisation.
Find out more with our Good Governance Toolkit.

Voluntary code of practice 

The voluntary code of practice for Social Enterprise in Scotland sets the boundary between Social Enterprise and the private sector. 

For more information please visit Social Enterprise Scotland

A core principle is that economic activity should work for the common good – rather than the unlimited private gain of a few. This locates some SEs within the wider objective of changing the way society operates. 

What is the difference between a Social Enterprise & Private Enterprise? 

There are many private companies who will have a CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) policy that helps the company be aware of the impact that they may be having on all aspects of society and the environment. For companies to be socially responsible they first need to be accountable to it’s shareholders. Companies that adopt CSR as usually larger companies where they have grown to the point that they are well placed to give back to society, set standards, of ethical behavior for it’s peers, competition and industry. It sets them apart! Examples of leaders in CSR would be Starbucks & Ben & Jerry’s. Through CSR activity businesses can benefit society whilst boosting their brand. As an example this may be that they pay team members to volunteer for a charity or organization. There are four types of CSR (some companies don’t necessarily engage in all four) – Environmental, Ethical, Philanthropic & Financial. However private owned companies primarily exist to create wealth for their shareholders and owners and are not regarded as social enterprises. Customers are becoming increasingly more aware of the impact companies can have on their communities, and many now base purchasing decisions on the CSR aspects of a business.

The Economy & The importance of the regions Social Enterprises 

According to recent figures released by the Social Enterprise in Scotland: Census 2021, Social Enterprises are a critical part of the rural economy contributing £197m in the Highlands & Islands In 2021, there were 1,277 social enterprises operating in the Highlands and Islands employing 7,228 full-time employees. More than two thirds (68%) of social enterprises in the Highlands and Islands are led by women and 72% percent are located in rural areas. Many social enterprises in the Highlands and Islands own assets and manage land, including estates and islands, harness renewable energy technologies, create employment, and provide an increasingly diverse range of essential services.

Development Trusts 

A development trust is a community-owned and led organisation, working to combine community-led action with an enterprising approach to address and tackle local needs and issues. The aim of a development trust is to create social, economic and environmental renewal in a defined geographical area, creating wealth within that area and keeping it there. Across the country, in city, town, rural and island locations, development trusts are enabling communities to make their own plans and aspirations a reality.

HTSI Support for
Social Enterprises

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Here at HTSI we can help with any guidance and support with setting up, choosing the correct legal structure (governance), Funding/Finance opportunities, networking, elearning, training and mentoring if you are based in the Inner Moray Firth or Wester Ross area please Contact Us.

If you are based elsewhere in Highland, please contact one of our partner organisations.

Organisational Development Support

We are here to assist you with all aspects of developing your organisation, and we understand that your requests can be quite varied.

For example, you may need help building a team, whether it's recruiting paid staff or volunteers, or you may require access to a staff handbook or induction templates.

If you are just starting out, you may need guidance and support to write a business plan, decide on a name for your business, create a brand that reflects your social mission, develop a strap line, or perfect your pitch to ensure that your target audience or funders are aware of your aims and objectives and that you are measuring your social impact. Regardless of your needs, we are here to help you!

Contact our Organisational & Entrepreneurial development officer, Angela Stewart, Tel: 07454 828 590

E-mail -

Finding a Social Enterprise Mentor

Our mentoring scheme runs over a 6-month cohort. If you're interested in knowing more about the scheme or would like to be added to the list for the next round, please feel free to contact us through email at or by phone at 07454 828 590.

Other Support Available from HTSI

Governance and Organisation Support

We can assist with aspects of Governance support, such as the process of setting up a group, appointing board/trustees, and taking you through a Good Governance Health check. We also can provide specialist tailor made support.

Volunteering Support

HTSI can help your organisation recruit volunteers. Get in touch and let us know about your opportunities and we help you advertise them for on our website, our social media pages and through The Volunteer Scotland website.​


HTSI produces a monthly Funding Bulletin for members, which details current funding opportunities in Highland. Follow the link below for helpful tips in pursuing funding opportunities.

HTSI Social Enterprise Forum


We host the Social Enterprise forum which is for anyone interested in Social Enterprise. We hear from relevant services, Social Entrepreneurs and provide a platform for you to share your story, experience and have the opportunity to build your network.


The forum takes place quarterly online. Places can be booked on our membership platform.

Please contact or
tel 07454 828590 to find out more.

HTSI Membership

Are you a member of HTSI?

Members of HTSI are made up of Third Sector organisations across Highland. By joining HTSI, organisations will benefit from the regular bulletins, forums, and other resources. Find out more below.

HTSI Training

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HTSI provides regular live training sessions to support you and your organisation.

View all of our training and events below.


Below are some hints, tips, and things to think about when you are starting

your organisation.

Angela Stewart, our Organisational & Entrepreneurial Development officer can provide advice and support with business development. 


Tel: 07454828590

Assist with writing a business plan/ business analysis

You’ve got a business idea. You’ve decided to start a Social Enterprise/Organisation You want to get going. But there’s a lot more to a good Social Enterprise/Organisation, than a good idea. You need to think things through to maximise your chances of success. Are you the right person to run the business/Organisation? Will customers/Clients like your product? A business plan will help you turn an idea into a business/Organisation. It needs you to think through all the parts of your business to plan how everything will work. It will take a few weeks to write if you’re going to do it properly. Some parts will be easier to complete than others. Stick at it because it’s not the final document that’s important, it’s the process. Although you want to have a good plan when you’re done, an OK plan is better than no plan.

Your business name: 

Your business name is important because it’s often the first thing people see on your marketing materials – for example, your website or later your business premises. Your name helps customers to form an impression of what you do, and what you stand for and to pick you out from the competition. You also have to live with it. You need to think about 1. What your name says about you and your business 2. How your name influences potential customers 3. Whether the name you have in mind is already being used by another business


This is a catchy phrase that goes with your business name and logo – for example, Cadbury’s Crème Egg – how do you eat yours? Not all businesses need a catchy strapline. If you decide to have one it should emphasise the key selling point of your business, the bit that makes you stand out. It should be short, simple, and catchy and strike a chord with your customers. Once you’ve decided on your strapline, you can include it in your marketing materials, website, and in the bottom of your emails

Elevator pitch:

This is a quick two minute summary of your business. It’s the few sentences that you choose to tell potential customers when you have all but two minutes to leave an impression. Your elevator pitch should clearly state what your business does, who it’s for and why it’s different. After a little practice, it will be second nature.

Support and signposting for HR & employment law:

Having a staff handbook is crucial when employing or managing people. The handbook should outline the company's values, culture, productivity, performance, appraisals, employee retention, and exit interviews. There is a lot of employment advice and support available from the government website, pension regulators, community voluntary service organisations, or expert advice from employment law and HR consultants.

Getting your pricing right:

When starting a business, it is important to understand that most of your potential customers may already be using other businesses. Therefore, you need to conduct research on those businesses and their customers. It's not enough to just assume that your business idea is good and that your pricing is right based on the opinions of your friends and family. To ensure that your assumptions about your business are correct, you need to conduct proper research. The success of your product or service depends on whether it sells, not just on how good it looks on paper. There is no set amount of research that is enough, but it is better to focus on researching your local market instead of the entire global market. This will help you understand your market, its behavior, and what your potential customers expect.

Good Governance Support:

Good Governance ensures an organisation's direction, effectiveness and accountability. Learn more in our toolkit by clicking below.

Accounting for your social enterprise - evaluating: 

Considering the various frameworks and standards available for evaluating and reporting on social enterprises, we can provide guidance in the right direction upon getting

in touch.

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