Social enterprise

Bristol Community Transport is a social enterprise, but what does that mean and why is it a good idea?

Making a difference

If you have ever bought the Big Issue or a bar of Divine chocolate, heard of Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen chain of restaurants, visited the Eden Project or shopped at the Co-op, then you already know a bit about social enterprise: a growing, worldwide movement of businesses that exist to change the world for the better.

A social enterprise is a business that trades to tackle social problems, improve communities, people’s life chances, or the environment - a way of doing business that puts people and the planet first.

Social enterprises exist to make a difference to the communities where they work. They get their money through trade, just like a normal business, but the money they make is reinvested back into the communities where it is earned.

Social enterprises don’t have shareholders and can’t sell out to big business, so they can focus on making their communities better places to live and work. They often work alongside the community to design the services they provide, making sure that people’s needs are really met.

What a refreshing change!

Bristol Community Transport provides mainstream bus services in Bristol and the surrounding areas. The money these services make doesn't go to shareholders, it goes towards providing a whole range of community transport in the City, making a real difference. Every year, Bristol Community Transport's parent, HCT Group, sets out the difference we are making in our latest social impact report here.

Social Enterprise UK, the national body for social enterprises, has an excellent introduction to the social enterprise movement here – and their website is well worth a look.