Hertfordshire LEP has commissioned a new report to identify the scope of social enterprises within the county, their contribution to the local economy and the support needed to help them grow. The report, prepared by Social Enterprise East of England (SEEE), was produced to inform the development of Hertfordshire’s Local Industrial Strategy (LIS).

Social enterprises are businesses that trade in order to tackle the major challenges faced in society. They sell goods and services on the open market and reinvest profits back into the business and local community. Social enterprises provide employment for local people, deliver key local and strategic services and make a positive contribution to help drive inclusive economic growth - one of the overarching challenges for the LIS.

There are between 1,164 and 1,783 social enterprises trading in Hertfordshire, making an estimated annual contribution to the economy of between £575 million and £875 million.

Nine Hertfordshire social enterprises were interviewed to inform the report. These include:

  • Aerende, which is an online shop that provides a route to market for high-end, hand-produced goods made by individuals who are disadvantaged by issues such as mental health problems. Some goods are produced within workshops run by local charities.
  • Chexs, which supports disadvantaged children and families to engage with education and learning.
  • Herts For Learning, which provides a range of support services for the majority of state schools and education settings. It is a spin-out from Hertfordshire County Council and is jointly owned by the schools it supports.
  • Hertfordshire Independent Living Service, which provides meals on wheels and other community support to older people, including those with dementia, to help them maintain their independence by living in their own homes.
  • Herts Urgent Care, which provides a wide range of healthcare services to the five Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Hertfordshire and beyond.
  • Recover, which offers work experience opportunities to those recovering from addiction. Its programme teaches people how to recycle furniture, which is then sold in its shops.
  • Sarratt Post Office Stores, which is a community owned and run village shop and post office.
  • Sunnyside Rural Trust, which is a farm and horticultural business providing employment for young adults with learning disabilities.
  • Watford Workshop, which provides employment and training for people with disabilities who deliver a packaging service to commercial businesses, including many high street brands.

Three in-depth case studies are featured within the report, with further examples available on the SEEE website. 

Read the full report: Social Enterprise trading in Hertfordshire

Visit the SEEE website