British social enterprises that are making a difference

We believe business can and should be used as a force for good. One of our most popular blog posts to date was a round up of inspiring companies around the world that are making a real impact in peoples lives. Since we wrote that post we've discovered some awesome companies operating right here in the UK. Here is a few of our favourites. Enjoy! 

The Soap Co

The Soap Co. is social enterprise that employs people who are blind or otherwise disabled or disadvantaged. All of their profits go back into the business so that they can create even more jobs! They believe their products should be good and do good.

Soap Co

Their mission is to provide a stepping-stone into other employment for those who can achieve it, whilst providing a real, long-term job for those for whom this goal is less likely. The soap Co. currently employs more than 100 people across the UK and they aim to generate 60 new job opportunities for disabled or disadvantaged people every year. 

Old Spike Roastery

Old Spike Roastery is a top-notch coffee shop and roastery based in Peckham, South East London.

They are a social enterprise set up exclusively to help local homeless people in their community. Their mission is to provide expert training, housing and a job that will hopefully be a stepping-stone to long term employment.

Old Spike Roastary

When we visited a few weeks ago we met a lady called Lucy, she was Old Spike’s first homeless employee. The Old Spike founders met her when she was selling the big issue outside London Bridge station. Lucy is originally from Romania and has been in the UK for 3 years, she doesn’t speak much English so they are providing her with language courses in addition to her barista training.

If a trek to South East London is too far to go for your morning coffee they offer coffee subscriptions via their website.


Madlug make epic bags! Each time someone buys a bag Madlug gives a bag to a child in care to help them make their way with dignity.

Madlug backpacks

In the spring of 2014 while Dave Linton was attending an introduction to fostering course, he was shown a video interview with a young girl in a wheelchair who made the following statement:

“Health Trusts don’t provide suitcases. Sometimes foster carers loan us a suitcase but more often our belongings are moved in black plastic bin bags and we lose our dignity”.

This really stuck with Dave and for the remainder of the evening he thought of nothing else but the fact that these children's belongings are being transferred in bin bags.  He started thinking of ways in which he could help these vulnerable children make their way in life with a little dignity and came up with the idea of Madlug backpacks. Each time someone purchases a bag they provide a barrel bag to a child in care providing them with a practical solution to move their belongings. 

Karma Cola

Every Karma Cola sold helps a village in Sierra Leone. Karma believes that what you drink should not only taste good, it should be good for the land, good for the people who grow the ingredients and be as good for you as a fizzy drink can be.

Karma Cola

Karma Cola work in 8 different communities in Sierra Leone where the Kola Nut are grown and harvested to make their drinks.

They give back to the communities in a number of different ways. Projects are developed and decided by the communities themselves.

The first project they funded was a bridge that joins two parts of a village called Boma together. Other projects include sending 50 young people to school, employing a primary school teacher, building a rice processing plant to ensure security and self sufficiency of food supply and rehabilitating 25 acres of rainforest farms.

Oppi Designs

Oppi Designs create beautiful baby footwear. Oppi started out by providing new shoes for children in need, for every pair of Oppi shoes sold. The idea evolved into something much bigger. During one of her giving trips to Mozambique Oppi’s founder Jane Trentham realised that while new shoes remain important, what seemed more critical was the opportunity for children to grow up in a safe, loving family home. With appropriate support, perhaps families could then afford the dignity of providing new shoes for their own children, rather than just relying on handouts.

Oppi Designs

Oppi now donate 10% of the purchase price of every order to their fantastic charity partner Tutela Africa. Tutela are on a journey to introduce family-based care in Mozambique which is a new concept of childcare in the country. They are establishing foster family homes for children who have been orphaned, or who are especially vulnerable.

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