Community Enterprise

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The concept of community enterprise was developed by Freer Spreckley in 1982 in a publication called Developing Community Co-operatives published by Beechwood College, UK. Similar types of organisation are also called neighbourhood co-operatives in Britain and Stadtteilgenossenschaften in Germany. In the 21st century, many of the objectives, if not all the organisational principles, of community enterprise have been taken on by the Development Trust Association.

The community enterprise is a registered not-for-profit organisation that acts as a holding company owned and controlled by the community, which supports residents in developing new initiatives, managing commercial and social projects and running local commercial enterprises. It owns assets and distributes profits and benefits to the community and is managed democratically, based on one person one vote. Membership is open to all residents of a defined area and can include employees as well.

It can use social audit to provide a balance to the financial audit so that social and commercial objectives are planned and measured in an integrated way.

The general purposes of a community enterprise are:

  • to create and hold wealth for the community
  • to create social benefit for the community
  • to empower and create confidence of members
  • to provide resources to groups and individuals in order that they may establish their own activities and gain benefit

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