Community Interest Companies (CIC)
Community Interest Companies or ‘CICs’ are one of the most popular and current forms of social enterprise. All CICs are first and foremost, companies, usually limited by guarantee and are regulated by Companies House. They also opt to be of ‘community interest’ when they register.
The main advantage of becoming a CIC, is that it provides a pretty much off-the-shelf model that works as a bonifide social enterprise. All CICs are required when they register to outline who or what their ‘community of interest’ is or are – this is equivalent to outlining your good cause or charitable role, but is somewhat less onerous and rigid than charity registration.
CICs must also have an asset-lock clause and they must reinvest most of their profits back into the ‘community of interest’; so they automatically pass most tests of being a genuine social enterprise. There is some debate about how many directors a CIC should have as technically a company can have just a single director, but in practice most funders (and membership organisations like us) will be uneasy about funding a company with a single director because of the inherent risks and lack of scrutiny this entails.