Did you know Scottish social enterprises can apply for SEWF Verification?

The Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) has developed an affordable and accessible verification system that helps enterprises from every country, that put people and planet first, to be recognised and receive benefits. A global verification makes it possible to work with international institutions to expand funding, pro bono and discounted services and procurement opportunities to mission-locked social enterprises around the world.

Social Enterprise Scotland has partnered with SEWF to help social enterprises in Scotland become third-party verified. You can use this global social enterprise verification to prove your credentials, join a global movement of like-minded social enterprise organisations and access benefits such as fast-tracked pro-bono legal services from TrustLaw and free seller profiles on the global SAP Business Network purchasing software.

To be considered a SEWF Verified Social Enterprise, organisations must: 

  1. Prioritise: Exist to solve a social or environmental problem and prioritise purpose, people and planet over profit in strategic and operational decisions.
  2. Sustain: Have a self-sustaining revenue model and reinvest the majority of surplus towards its mission.
  3. Protect: Choose legal structures and financing that protect and lock-in purpose long term.

What to do:

  1. SEWF verification was developed to be simple and affordable, support regional and national networks, and expand market access and opportunities for enterprises around the world that are prioritising people and planet. The first step is to submit a free online form that serves as a common application for other verification systems and services on our partner website Good Market. It takes around 30 minutes to fill the Good Market application form – if a question doesn’t apply to your organisation just click no.
  2. Once your enterprise is approved, the second step is to make a payment for the verification administration (£70 for initial application and £50 annual renewal), then complete a 5 question criteria document, explain how you meet the criteria and upload evidence documents for review.

Benefits of becoming SEWF Verified:

SEWF is working with international partners on the following benefits for SEWF Verified social enterprises:

  • Access to funding opportunities, pro bono services and discounts that are currently limited to registered non-profits and charities, starting with fast-track pro-bono legal services from TrustLaw.
  • Access to a network of international companies and institutions that are committing to social procurement policies and value chain partnerships with social enterprises through the SAP Business Network.
  • Access to global marketplaces and procurement platforms through increased visibility and software integrations.

History of SEWF Verification

SEWF has followed a bottom-up, network-of-networks approach since the first Social Enterprise World Forum event in 2008. The annual events have been organised in partnership with local hosts in order to strengthen regional and national social enterprise movements. After its 10-year anniversary event, SEWF began working with network partners on a global mapping exercise that led to the release of 6 “social enterprise characteristics” at the 2019 event in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In 2021, these characteristics became the basis of a social enterprise verification that was implemented with verification partners around the world.

Verification Partners “Single badge” verification partners are networks and ecosystem builders that assist with the document review. They receive 60% of the verification fee in recognition of the work carried out. “Double badge” verification partners are existing verifications, certifications, and accreditations that meet or exceed the SEWF standards. They are able to offer the global verification to their network at no additional cost and with no additional document review.

Global Review

SEWF has always been committed to global inclusion, but in the early years, there was disproportionate representation from Anglo and Commonwealth countries. Today, SEWF works with networks in more than 130 countries and has board members, team members, and verification partners across 6 continents. While the term social enterprise is still used, there is greater recognition that this enterprise model has deep roots in indigenous and traditional communities and exists under different names and legal structures in different parts of the world. Based on feedback from participating enterprises and consultation with verification partners, SEWF updated the verification system in 2023 to better reflect the global context, recognise diverse legal systems, and include enterprises that meet the standards but might not currently use social enterprise terminology.

SEWF’s goal is to grow the global social enterprise movement to accelerate our transition to a new global impact economy. SEWF seeks to provide market access opportunities in countries around the world where verification does not currently exist. Now is the ideal time to be part of a global verified social enterprise community.

Join us so that we can work together to open up even more opportunities for social enterprises around the world.

Next steps: Go to the online form to create a free Good Market profile.

Why not join in the SEWF conversation on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn.