I run a UK registered limited travel company taking people on trips in Africa. I am essentially not for profit.
I currently have education programs and am thinking of setting up a fund to assist displaced families in the parts of Africa I operate. A third element is doing creating a fund for soft very small loans for people to support simple business. What is the best company structure for this? Can I just set up a foundation within my company? Or should I register as a social enterprise company?
I want the least bureaucratic route.
There are many options to do what you want to do but starting from the legal form end is not the right way to do it. You need to think more about what you want to do through an organisation, think what your role will be, and work out if what you want to do is viable.
A few comments
* a social enterprise needs to be able to generate its own income not rely on grants
* a charity must have exclusively charitable purposes, operate for the public benefit (not private individuals ie not you), and if it has an income of more than £5k it must register with the Charity Commission. There are pros and cons around being a charity including restrictions on whether you are paid or not. The Charity Commission won't give you any help on setting up as a charity unfortunately, mainly because of funding cuts
These resources may help you...
* http://www.navca.org.uk/directory - to find your local support and development organisation (CVS, VCA, LIO and other assorted acronyms) - who may be able to support you to set up or at least know others who can such as specialist social enterprise support
* Charity Commission guidance on setting up a new charity http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/Start_up_a_charity/default.aspx - you should read all of this
* Co-ops UK simply guides http://www.uk.coop/simplyseries - user-friendly guides to setting up new organisations - it does have a focus on co-ops but covers all the options
Hope this helps