Press release

New review launches to unlock potential of mission-led businesses

Minister for Civil Society has launched a review to increase the economic and social impact of mission-led businesses in the UK economy.


Mission-led businesses use their business models to achieve both social and economic impact. These businesses have a clear mission to address critical social problems, but do not register this mission in legal terms such as becoming a charity or a community-interest company.

It is estimated that there are as many as 195,000 of these businesses in the UK, employing 1.6 million people. In 2012 these businesses were estimated to turn over £120 billion a year. They are adopting new solutions to longstanding social issues like aged care, dementia and unemployment.

The review, led by the Cabinet Office, will examine how this emerging sector can be supported to double in size over the next decade, delivering greater economic and social benefits. The review will shortly issue a Call for Input and report by the end of 2016.

This trend is being driven by the millennial generation who increasingly demand an increased focus on social purpose in who they work for, how they consume and where they invest.

Nigel Wilson, Chief Executive of Legal & General Group PLC, will chair an expert advisory panel comprising of business and social sector voices.

Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson, said:

Businesses which have a social mission often play a vital role in making their community better, whilst also contributing to the wider success of the UK economy. This review will help us find new ways to tap into their full potential, helping us to improve the lives of those in most need whilst creating a more compassionate society.

Nigel Wilson, CEO of Legal & General Group and Chair of the external advisory panel to the review, said:

Like us the best businesses aspire to be both economically and socially useful. This study of the mission or socially-led business sector hopes to bring greater clarity to a fast-growing, dynamic part of the economy which often plays a key role in providing the UK with its research and development capabilities that neither industry, government nor the education sector have cracked.

Businesses of this type are neither charities nor straightforward companies, but many are dynamic and entrepreneurial: they can help address major social issues, while innovating and creating jobs. They are a real force for good, and we hope to help develop the best framework for them in which to operate.

Published 23 March 2016