Exchange Supplies: a social enterprise

A growing part of the 3rd sector, social enterprises are a movement of organisations that tackle a wide range of social, health, and environmental issues, and operate in all parts of the economy.

Social Enterprises are different from traditional for profit companies in that they use business solutions to achieve social or health objectives.

For us at Exchange Supplies, our and the surpluses of a Social Enterprise are principally reinvested in the furtherance of those objectives, a concept known as having a 'double or triple bottom line'... for us, our health and social objectives are:

  • Reducing the health impacts of injecting drug use;

  • Developing injecting equipment that causes less harm;

  • Providing employment and training to people with a history of drug dependence; and

  • Improving the understanding of injecting drug use.

In the absence of governments choosing to fund all the projects that could benefit disadvantaged citizens, Social enterprises have a distinct and valuable role to play in helping create a strong, sustainable and socially inclusive economy, for this reason there is some support from government for them, and the Department of Trade and Industry is of the view that successful social enterprises can play an important role in helping to:

  • Drive up productivity and competitiveness;

  • Contribute to socially inclusive wealth creation;

  • Enable individuals and communities to work towards regenerating their local neighbourhoods;

  • Show new ways to deliver public services; and

  • Help to develop an inclusive society and active citizenship.

...The crucial differentiator is that social enterprises are not driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners. The best known example of a social enterprise is probably The Big Issue magazine.


Exchange Supplies,
1 Great Western Industrial Centre,
Dorchester, Dorset DT1 1RD, UK

01305 262244