Government social enterprise policy is set out in the social enterprise action plan, which was launched in November 2006. Social enterprises come from a variety of backgrounds and a proportion of them will start as voluntary sector organisation looking to become more enterprising and diversify their income stream.
A number of funds focus specifically on supporting social enterprise and enterprising third sector organisations. The Cabinet Office has two such programmes:
Futurebuilders offers support and investment to third sector organisations to deliver public services. Cabinet Office committed a further £65 million to this fund over the 2008-11 CSR period, brining the total fund up to £215 million.
A Risk Capital Fund which will, over the life of the fund, provide up to £10 million government money for co-investment in social enterprise, matched by up to £10 million from the private sector.
In addition the Department of Health is investing £100 million over the next four years to create and support a vibrant social enterprise sector in health and social care.