There has been a lot of talk lately about the extent to which the legal structure of a social enterprise or a social business matters, and the community interest companies featured in this top list make the most of their legal structure.
According to the Department for Business Innovation & Skills in the U.K., "Community Interest Companies (CICS) are limited companies, with special additional features, created for the use of people who want to conduct a business or other activity for community benefit, and not purely for private advantage."
At the recent 2011 Social Finance Forum, many social entrepreneurs and investors alike lamented at the fact that Canada doesn't have the legal structure necessary to allow the same sort of environment to flourish. However, the general theme was to get whatever you want to get done, regardless of whether or not the perfect legal structure is available. You can't wait for policymakers to come around.
Check out these community interest companies, from technological literacy programs to community craft ciders and affordable natural health centers.
From Technological Literacy Programs to Craft Ciders
Technological Literacy Programs
‘121 Women and Computers' Teaches Valuable Employment
Imaginative Care Supporters
Community Catalysts Develops Radical Solutions to Social Issues
Affordable Natural Health Centers
The Healing Clinic is an Accessible Community Interest Company
Anti-Stigma Food Companies
The Healthy Hub Creates Jobs for People with Mental Illnesses
Community Craft Ciders
Brew On is a Social Enterprise Based in the United Kingdom
Work-Based Catering Academies
Create Foundation Works with Marginalized Communities
Motivated Media Brands
'One&Other' Aims to Put the Social Purpose Back into Local Reporting
Innovative Training Centers
Striding Out Supports Young Social Entrepreneurs
Youthful Entrepreneur Projects
'Social Enterprise Africa' Trains Ethical Changemakers
Alternative Education Enterprises
KO2 is a Community Interest Company with a Love for Dirtbiking