We specialise in both setting up and advising existing social enterprises and social entrepreneurs on innovative business and philanthropic ventures and social innovations.
We combine our legal expertise advising on corporate structures and business transactions, with our expertise and specialist knowledge of the charity and not-for-profit sector, and our experience in the private and public sector to offer services that support all aspects of business for both new and established social enterprises.
We do not shoe-horn social enterprises into existing charity structures but instead treat you as the separate and distinct structure that you are.
We offer comprehensive advice with a genuine understanding of what makes social enterprise organisations different. Our services include advising on:
- start-ups, structuring and re-structuring, including advice on the broad range of structures available and which is most suitable to your specific goals.
- collaborations and joint ventures, including structuring arrangements involving a range of different stakeholders (charities, local authorities, funders, Universities, commercial entities and others).
- community projects, including establishing local ‘hubs’ and communities taking over assets like libraries, pubs, allotments and village shops
- finance and funding advice, including debt structures and documentation, bonds, loan and security arrangements, equity finance, asset finance, crowdfunding, start-up and growth funding, micro-finance and general banking.
- construction, property and planning
- employment and employee incentives.
- commercial contracts, public procurement, State Aid, data protection and intellectual property, including trade mark registration and defence.
- disputes and litigation
- tax and VAT advice, including Seed Enterprise Investment Schemes (SEIS) and Enterprise Investment Schemes (EIS), employment taxation, tax disputes, tax clearances, corporate transactions and real estate tax (CGT, SDLT, the Construction Industry Scheme, Capital Allowances).
If you are considering setting up a new social enterprise, you might be interested in our free webinar on Setting up a charity or social enterprise, which is available to view (along with many other webinars) on our Birketts YouTube channel.
Our social enterprise clients are UK wide ranging from those in the criminal and social justice sphere, urban social regeneration, ideas factories through to village pubs and include Social Enterprise Hubs in the Eastern region and London.
We are actively involved in various Social Enterprise networks in the Eastern region and in London and are well connected in the sector.
We understand that ‘social enterprise’ covers a very broad range of ventures and initiatives, but what they have in common is that they combine commercial ideas with a social conscience and are often the result of collaboration between likeminded individuals and communities. Projects can be ground-breaking, unlocking social value and resulting in significant social change.
As such, we also recognise that our social enterprise clients are looking for an approach that matches the innovative and collaborative nature of their venture. You do not want to be shoe-horned in with charities, nor do you want to be advised as if you were a purely commercial enterprise. We are lawyers who understand who you are, what you are about, and why you are different to other types of organisations.
Our approach is commercial and practical and we take the time to understand your particular social and financial goals, stakeholder interests and community issues in order to provide you with tailored advice with a genuine understanding of your business needs.