Social Enterprise Accreditation

Social Enterprise Acumen is proud to be an affiliate partner of Social Enterprise Mark CIC, the international social enterprise accreditation authority which provides a pathway to recognised standards of good practice and excellence.

Our very own Kate Welch was one of the original Social Enterprise Mark Ambassadors and remains a strong advocate for the importance of independent standards for social enterprise businesses and Social Enterprise Acumen has held the Social Enterprise Mark since 2013.

Social Enterprise Mark CIC provides a pathway to social enterprise good practice and excellence via a portfolio of externally assessed accreditations:

  • Aspiring Social Enterprise accreditation – an entry level accreditation for new and aspiring social enterprises, or those looking to convert to a social enterprise business model. Annual licence fee of £150+VAT or £15/month
  • Social Enterprise Markthe recognised standard of social enterprise good practice. The only accreditation to independently assess organisations against sector-agreed criteria to provide a guarantee of a commitment to trading for the primary benefit of people and planet. Annual licence fee starts at £250+ VAT or £25/month (dependent on company turnover)
  • Social Enterprise Gold Mark  – the only standard of social enterprise excellence. Provides enhanced accreditation to established social enterprises which can show best practice across several key business areas that are central to social enterprise excellence, including governance, business ethics and social impact. Annual licence fee starts at £1,900+VAT (dependent on company turnover)

At Social Enterprise Acumen we believe that genuine and transparent accreditation helps you stand out as a credible social enterprise.  That is why businesses referred by Social Enterprise Acumen to Social Enterprise Mark CIC can benefit from an introductory discount of 10% off the cost of their first annual licence fee for any Social Enterprise Mark CIC accreditation. You can find out more and register your interest here.

Buy Social – Local Programme

Social Enterprise Acumen is delighted that, as lead for the Social Enterprise Places Programme in North East England, we have been selected alongside Bristol, Birmingham and Salford to work in partnership with Social Enterprise UK to develop the ‘Buy Social – Local Expansion Programme’

Buy Social is SEUK’s flagship campaign that aims to build markets for social enterprises among the general public as well as the private and public sectors. It challenges all of us to think about where we buy our goods and services, and the social impact of our purchasing decisions.

The aim of the Buy Social-Local Programme is to better support local social enterprises to access business to business markets. We aim to match at least 100 social enterprises in the North East with larger buyers who want  to buy from them to increase their social value and diversity of suppliers. The programme will directly address the barriers facing smaller B2B social enterprises trying to grow their businesses and will make more corporate buyers aware of the benefits of buying social as well as increasing their spend with social enterprises.

In recent weeks you may have received an email from SEA asking if you would like to update your records and join our refreshed Social Enterprise Directory. If you have not yet completed your response, please complete this quick survey to give SEA permission to include your social enterprise in our directory. Alternatively, for a more robust profile on our directory, please fill out your details via this webform.

Over the next few months we will be delivering online training sessions to help social enterprises prepare for selling to larger buyers and will also be working with corporate buyers to understand which social enterprises are already in their supply chains and how we can grow the number and range.. This will culminate in Meet the Buyer events to match buyers and suppliers to develop the buy social marketplace.

If you are interested in finding out more about joining our programme as a buyer or supplier, please email us at

Delivering social enterprise support during a lockdown

Like many social enterprises Social Enterprise Acumen (SEA) has had to adapt to the current environment to continue to provide its services. The organisation was in a strong position to do so as it moved its IT operations to Microsoft 365 in 2019 so was already using collaborative tools such as SharePoint file sharing and Teams video chat before the Covid-19 lockdown in March. Since then we have continued to use these routinely and have also subscribed to Zoom to increase our capacity and flexibility to work with others. 

Moving forward we believe that we will all increasingly rely upon digital tools to deliver services, and we wanted to share an example of how we have incorporated this approach into working with our customers.

Last week we delivered a social impact measurement workshop with a group of nine participants using Zoom. We began with a short PowerPoint presentation which we shared with all participants using the ‘share screen’ function. This enabled participants to read slides while the facilitator spoke. After an initial group discussion, we split participants into smaller working groups using the ‘breakout room’ function online, and then asked a representative from each group to feedback to all parties. After debating a series of opportunities, we used the ‘poll’ facility to enable participants to vote on their preferred option for moving forward.

We believed that this approach provided the same opportunity for debate and interaction as a face to face meeting would have, but we tested this theory with participants. They too enjoyed the workshop, found the Zoom meeting easy to join and navigate, and were delighted with the chance to see and speak to each other. Moreover, they felt that the digital workshop was an effective use of their time, enabling them to focus and reach consensus on the topic being addressed.

Of course we all enjoy meeting face to face, but we at Social Enterprise Acumen have always embraced the digital tools available to help our organisation to deliver services, and with the positive feedback we have received, we will continue to use these throughout the Covid-19 lockdown and beyond.