NORWICH – A social enterprise city

History of social enterprises in Norwich

Norwich is a hot-spot for social enterprise activity in the UK and is developing as a ‘social enterprise city’. With a strong partnership, across sectors, our brand, FUSE, has a mission to create a strong eco-system in which social enterprises can thrive and tackle some of our most challenging societal issues.

Better business today for a more equal tomorrow.

Current social enterprise landscape

According to our 2021 research there are 53 social enterprises in Norwich working in a huge range of sectors including in education, health, arts, food, law, housing, homelessness, retail business support, social care and more. These businesses employ around 2700 people and bring in an income of over £107 million. There are mega-social enterprises such as Independent Matters CIC but there is also a vibrant economy of smaller businesses making real change on the ground.

Here’s a guide to a few of the inspiring social enterprises in Norwich:

Key objectives

As part of the aims of the Norwich City Vision 2040 and the Good Economy Commission to make Norwich a fairer city, now is the time to develop the social enterprise sector to be a part of this solution, a part of the Covid19 recovery and to build back better. Our aim is to develop a number of recommendations to enable start-ups to start up, growing enterprises to strengthen and for all to be sustainable in the right way for that business, for our communities and our city.

  1. To stimulate social enterprise in the city
  2. To grow finance options for all stages of social enterprise
  3. To create access the right support at the right time for social entrepreneurs
  4. To want people from all backgrounds and ages to want to start their own social enterprises or work for them
  5. To raise awareness of social enterprise

You can read more about our plans in our application to SEUK here.


Norwich has a long history of being a radical, innovative city. Who knew our digital sector has grown three times faster than the national average? With an urban population of 240,000 and 117,000 jobs it is the largest conurbation in Norfolk. We are recognised for our strong economy, quality of life and vibrancy; listed as one of the best places to live in the UK by The Times in 2018.

With more than 8,000 businesses, our diverse economy has been one of our greatest strengths; from high value knowledge‐based enterprises, research and education, financial and professional services, healthcare, retail, creative and cultural industries and digital through to public sector services. Norwich contributes £3 billion plus per annum to the national economy.

The Social Enterprise City concept will undoubtedly help achieve a huge amount for the city, including;.

  1. Increasing not just the number of jobs, but the number of good jobs
  2. Increasing the employment options for people from all backgrounds
  3. Improvements in some of our most challenging societal issues
  4. Contributing to Norwich becoming even more vibrant and a place to stay and work
  5. A sector that is well supported, financed and better able to make an impact 
  6. More people, business, local authorities and others buying from social enterprises
The feed norwich social enterprise place social enterprise uk FUSE
The Feed – a social enterprise providing supported work experience through its social café and catering enterprise to people who face a barrier to employment.

Stakeholder Group in Norwich

  • Norwich City Council
  • Norwich Good Economy Commission
  • FUSE CIC – including representation from social enterprises
  • Norfolk Chambers of Commerce
  • Norwich Business Improvement District
  • New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership

Social Enterprise FUSE Launch

On 18th November 2021, FUSE Norwich was launched.  With a tour of social enterprises, a new and modern brand, FUSE will in early 2022 constitute as a CIC and bring the much needed focus to making Norwich an even better Social Enterprise Place.

Our brand FUSE

FUSE unites the collective energy of social entrepreneurs to make great things happen: it is the driving force behind innovative partnerships in Norwich that have direct social impact, and contribute to a more inclusive economy today.

Fuse Logo Primary Social Enterprise Place Norwich Social Enterprise UK web


Norwich social enterprises are socially impactful, profitable, high-quality businesses: the difference between them and other companies is what they do with their profit and how they work with our community.

PROFIT WITH PURPOSE The value of Norwich social enterprises is two-fold: they tackle local social and environmental issues as the very mission of their business, and they put the profit from doing that back into the community’s pocket.

A DIVERSE community We support the growth and breadth of social enterprises in Norwich to create a lively and diverse business environment: one that offers more and better opportunities for jobs, inclusivity and equality here in Norwich.

AN INCLUSIVE economy We champion and build partnerships between social enterprises and other Norwich businesses, charities, local authorities and organisations: this leverages extraordinary potential for an inclusive economy with social and environmental responsibility at its core.

Join Us

To find out more about the Norwich Social Enterprise Place intiative and get involved in the movement to further embed social enterprises in the city please fill in the below form to be added to the Norwich Social Enterprise Place mailing list.

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