How to choose a legal structure to last

If you’re confused about the best way to structure your new social enterprise, a new guide could help.

Thomson Reuters Foundation, UnLtd and Morrison Foerster launched a website in November to help social entrepreneurs to choose the right legal structure for their venture.

The UK Social Venture Structuring guide is at

Tom Fox, policy lead at support organisation for social entrepreneurs UnLtd, said: “Social entrepreneurs can choose from a wide range of legal structures and we know that choosing the most appropriate one can be bewildering. If their social ventures are to thrive and deliver their intended social impact, it’s vital that they can make an informed choice about which is right for their situation.”

On the interactive website, social entrepreneurs can navigate through 12 questions. At the end, they will receive a recommendation and a case study showing which legal structure would suit their organisation best. The recommendations apply to England and Wales.

Gary Brown, partner at legal firm Morrison & Foerster, said: “Morrison & Foerster has a strong pro bono tradition globally and our London team was delighted to support UnLtd with the development of this guide. This is such an exciting time to be a social entrepreneur.”

There is also a publication, available as a pdf, called Social Ventures: Which legal structure should I choose? This discusses the pros and cons associated with each legal form and provides detailed guidance on how to set up each structure A link to the relevant chapter from this appears at the end of the online questionnaire.

Factors that social entrepreneurs need to take into consideration when deciding upon a legal form include the size of their venture and its planned growth, the ownership or membership and how it will be financed.


Header photo: adam nicholson