Social Enterprise Support

In rural areas, gaps in services often create an opportunity for communities to develop a business to provide a vital service and also contribute to local society. Devon Communities Together provides advice, support and training to help such rural and social enterprises, e.g. community businesses, shops and community pubs, to start up and grow.

The Heart of the South West Enhance Social Enterprise Programme
Devon Communities Together has received funding with partners across Devon and Somerset to build and develop our social enterprise networks. Alongside our traditional membership benefits we will be able to signpost members to additional support and host social enterprise events. The Heart of the South West Enhance Social Enterprise Programme is receiving funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural & Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. For more information on this, visit

Two other current projects we're running which support rural and social enterprises are Building Better Opportunities - Empowering Enterprise and Rural Enterprise Solutions. Building Better Opportunities is in partnership with Petroc College and supports 18 to 24-year-olds who are not in education, employment or training, to access opportunities - read more about this project here. Rural Enterprise Solutions is a project offering free advice and support to would-be entrepreneurs, new businesses, and community enterprises across rural Devon - read more about it here

As part of our enterprise support services we also host the Devon Rural Social Enterprise Network, more information about which may be found below. 

Devon rural Social Enterprise Network

Who is this service for?

We are here to help any person or group in Devon that is interested in setting up a community service, facility or rural or social enterprise.

Your enterprise may be a concept and you don’t know where to begin or a facility that needs support in order to fulfil its potential.

For advice and support please call us.
Email or call 01392 248919

Social enterprises are businesses that trade to tackle social problems, improve communities, people's life chances, or the environment. They make their money from selling goods and services in the open market, but they reinvest their profits back into the businesses or the local community.

A community enterprise is more specific in that it is based in, and provides benefits to a particular local neighbourhood.  A community enterprise is owned and managed by members of that community.  It is an organisation run by a community as well as for a community.

Many communities in Devon have used this approach to maintain local services and our Enterprise Team has supported the development of community shops, post offices and pubs. We work closely with as The Plunkett Foundation.

How we can help you

We will help you start, grow and develop in a successful and sustainable way with:

  • Mentoring
  • Funding advice
  • Training
  • Project planning
  • Information and guidance
  • Public consultation
  • Research
  • Consultancy


"People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily, because they are travelling on the thrust of one another."

This is a network for social and community enterprises; social entrepreneurs and community activists like you, based in the rural parishes, market and coastal towns of Devon. If you want to be part of a stronger united voice for social change – Join us now – It’s FREE.

Email us at or call 01392 248919 

The Benefits
  • Current funding opportunities
  • Peer support
  • Latest sector news
  • Invitation to our social media groups
  • Training opportunities
  • FREE networking events