Start a Social Enterprise Group

Social Enterprise Groups operate as businesses, but work to support social or environmental missions. They are different from Societies because they make profits, and are different from regular businesses because they aim to affect change with these profits rather than keeping them. A Social Enterprise Group registered with the Students' Association is not a personal business and cannot earn money for the individuals starting it--rather, all profits are reinvested in the group's mission or the group itself, and thus anyone can start this kind of business as long as they entrust it to the next generation of students when they leave.

You can always stop by the Activities Office at Potterrow for a casual chat with our team, or email us at After chatting with us about your business idea, if we are ready to move forward and begin working together we will send you the link to register officially as a Social Enterprise.


Complete the questionnaire below to find out if your idea fits our social enterprise model!



Thinking of starting a Social Enterprise Group with the Students’ Association? Here's how the process works:


Let Us Know: Fill out the Interest Form – if you haven't already been in contact with the Activities Team about your interest in starting a group, this form lets us know who you are, that you’re considering starting a group, and what you’re potentially interested in doing with it!


Refine Your Plan: Meet Enterprise Services at Edinburgh Innovations – these business advisors work very closely with our student groups, and have the expertise to advise on the particulars that businesses need to anticipate to run smoothly! They can help you create or refine your business plan before you bring it to us. If we've already been chatting with you about your plan, we may bring them in at a later stage to help with the particulars.


Learn About Our Service: Meet the Activities Team – When we’re supporting a potential new student business, we like to meet up with its leadership in person, to discuss your plans and talk about what our service can do to support your new project or existing business. We want to ensure that we don't register any new groups that would compete with our current groups because we are intent on diversifying our student businesses, so feel free to peruse the current groups to see if your idea is already in motion. We’ll likely direct you to our Startup Guide at this point!


Preparing to Work Together: Fill out the Group Application – this is where you can record your group’s potential name and aims, as well as letting us know the details of your current student participation and any achievements thus far. Please don't complete this application unless you've spoken to an Activities Team member who has directed you to do so, as we want to make sure you put your best foot forward and complete it in a way that makes it easier for our panel to approve your potential business.


Registration: If your business plan and group is ready to hit the ground running, you can Register as a Social Enterprise Group with the Students’ Association! This form is available only when emailed by an Activities team member, so when you're ready, reach out to asking for the link! This will allow us to set up banking services for your group and provide access to funding opportunities. We’ll then provide you access to our Marketing and Banking guides and be able to fully support your group through our service.