Setting up a charitable trading arm

CAIS Social Enterprises Ltd, Porter's Café, Colwyn Bay (charitable trading arm of CAIS)

Charities the length and breadth of Wales provide invaluable services to vulnerable people and disadvantaged communities, often as unsung heroes.  But the effect of economic hardship and years of public spending austerity means that many Welsh charities face reductions in staffing, the prospect of rationing services and in some cases closure.

We can help.  Social Business Wales provides specialist support to social enterprises.  We’ve worked with many charities to help them diversify their funding base, increase income and ensure their survival by setting up trading arms using a social enterprise structure.

But the overwhelming majority of Welsh charities do not have a plan to secure their future through trading.  Recent research has found that four-fifths of Welsh charities said their funding mix was not right for what they wanted to do, but few have begun to identify action they need to take to change their service delivery and funding.  Only 10% identified trading as a main source of income.

We aren’t surprised.  Many charities lack the confidence and capacity to develop plans to trade.  They are put off by the complexities of governance structures, tax and VAT.  They fear such activity could be a distraction from their core purpose.  They don’t have the experience to judge risk effectively, fearing that an unsuccessful venture into trading would compromise the whole organisation.

That’s why we are here.  We can help you grow by setting up a social enterprise to trade, generate income and create employment.  You would be entitled to free specialist business support from Social Business Wales: anything from VAT advice to visioning, business planning to board development, and sales strategy to stakeholder engagement. We also have vast experience of working with charities who want to collaborate to deliver services.

To find out more, call the Business Wales phone line on 03000 6 03000 and ask for Social Business Wales or email

Sign up to our free events which will provide attendees with a thorough overview of the topic, including:

  • Practical financial issues: an explanation of the VAT, tax and accounting issues from a specialist in the field.
  • Feedback from charity leaders who have successfully established trading arms: the issues they faced, how these were resolved and the benefits to the charity.
  • An opportunity to hear from the Social Business Growth Fund: how to access funding for charitable trading arms.
  • Detailed information about Social Business Wales and the support available to help charities develop trading arms.

Click here to book your place:

Thursday 2 March 2017, Llanrwst

Wednesday 8 March 2017, Aberystwyth

Thursday 9 March 2017, Wrexham