How it Works


A “Social Enterprise” is any organisation that applies commercial strategies to maximise improvements in human and environmental well-being.









Enterprise St Michael’s is an Industrial & Provident Society (IPS), a particular type of Social Enterprise formally registered with the Financial Services Authority which conducts an industry, business or trade, either as a co-operative or as a Community Benefit scheme.

St.Michael’s Trading Estate has a special place in Bridport life. The individuals who have established Enterprise St Michael’s are committed to keeping it a community asset, which is why the IPS structure was chosen.

As an IPS, Enterprise St Michael’s has a statutory ‘Asset Lock’. This means that it will ensure the estate is protected, in perpetuity, for the benefit of the community. The directors of Enterprise St Michael’s, who work as volunteers, cannot profit from any part of the Enterprise. Their task is to find funding to acquire the site for the community, and then provide management and means to maintain and develop it appropriately.

Non-profit – but profitable

Despite being a not-for-profit organisation, Enterprise St Michael’s must be able to offer benefits to investors when to do so enhances the community’s social and environmental wellbeing. However, as a non-profit IPS, it is unlikely to provide enough of a financial return to attract the larger investors whose commitment is necessary for the Trading Estate to flourish.

There are several recognised ways to resolve this, and the directors of Enterprise St Michael’s are taking best professional advice before proposing their preferred solution. One idea under discussion is a structure of linked organizations, which make best use of available grants, loans, investment and tax rules to yield the most favourable results for the community, investors and the occupants of the St Michael’s Trading Estate alike.

For example, an affiliate company with tenants as shareholders could run the estate on behalf of its businesses, as illustrated below. It’s also possible to visualise another specialist organisation, perhaps constituted as a charity, to take charge of preservation of nominated historic buildings on the site. Meanwhile, Enterprise St Michael’s could continue to be responsible for buildings with a community purpose.

Organisation Diagram

One possible Organisation Diagram

A trio of organisations could share the raising of funds for acquiring, improving and running the Estate.

Community Buildings

As suggested above, selected premises could be retained by Enterprise St Michael’s as ‘Community Buildings’ for cultural, educational and leisure interests. For example these might include “The Trick Factory” indoor BMX and skate arena, and it is easy to imagine extra facilities such as wall climbing, an internet cafĂ©, a purpose built multi-purpose Community Hall, and an Apprenticeship scheme etc.


Our Society can do very little without major investment. We are currently inviting discussion with potential major investors. As we understand every investor has specific targets and criteria, they are invited to contact us at, for confidential and individual discussion.

The investment will be used for:

Purchase: – to acquire the freehold of the site, or a worthwhile part of it, from its current owners.

Improve: – to pay for immediate repairs, restoration and improvements to the business area of the site.

Restore: – sums allocated to the repair of key historic buildings.

Membership Share Holders

To get these ideas off the ground, increasing numbers of local people and visitors to Bridport are joining Enterprise St Michael’s by buying a Community Share. You can find out how to do this HERE.

Other types of shares will be issued in future, allowing potentially greater stakeholding in the Society. Please get in touch if this would be of interest to you.