Social Enterprise Transformation


Geof Cox Associates specialise in the transformation of organisations to social enterprise.  Typically, we help with

Geof Cox mentoring Moroccan organic box xcheme pioneer Ouafaa Melehi in TangierGeof Cox mentoring Moroccan organic box scheme pioneer Ouafaa Melehi of Coopérative Jnannemla

  • designing organisational, governance and management structures appropriate to social enterprise
  • developing social enterprise business models for public and voluntary sector bodies
  • developing an entrepreneurial organisational culture
  • organisational restructuring, for example setting up trading subsidiaries for NGOs, or spinning out social enterprise activities from public and voluntary sector bodies
  • succession strategies, for example continuing previously grant funded projects through earned income
  • employee and community buy-outs
  • teaching social enterprise organisational structures (for example Geof Cox teaches the structures component of the Social Entrepreneurship MA at Goldsmiths College, University of London)

Examples of our work...

You will find reports of recent work on our News Page, but here are a few past examples:

Organisational structure design

Geof Cox facilitates training seminars and practical discussion workshops on organisational development, and in particular organisational structure design for new social enterprise, and organisational restructuring for established organisations.

For social enterprise support organisations and development workers, Geof Cox Associates can help extend team skills to organisational structure design, by clearly describing both the methodology to be used to develop the optimal structure, and the pros and cons of each option, and providing the structured discussion and information tools to run your own organisational development workshops.

An example programme for a development workers' training day can be found here.

"The world of organisational structure development is full of myths and half-truths; all parties to the development of structures - enterprise founders, local solicitors or advisers - lack any clear organisational structure development methodology, or the right knowledge, examples and other tools to structure information, discussion or advice to make it meaningful. However, there have been some attempts to develop a clear discussion and development process which can take an individual or group from their broad vision and business planning through a series of logical steps to the right structure for them, and these form the basis of Geof Cox's approach to the organisational development process for social enterprise."

An outline of this approach can be found here.


NGO trading companies

  • Amble Development Trust
    Amble is one of the most successful developement trusts in the UK. Geof Cox originally set up their trading subsidiary company in 1999, then in 2006 converted this company into a Community Interest Company to act as an incubator and umbrella or 'holding' company for further trading subsidiaries.

Geof Cox is the author of A Guide to Charities Starting Social Firms - a step-by-step guide aimed principally at disability charities about to establish or 'float-off' a trading activity as a subsidiary or linked company.

Many of the issues, however, are relevant to any charity developing a trading activity or subsidiary company. The guide focuses on the legal and technical aspects of the work and addresses such questions as:

  • can a trading activity be carried on as part of the charity, or should it be floated off, for instance in a subsidiary or linked company?
  • how is running a social enterprise different from running a charity?
  • what support can the charity offer - in cash or in kind - to a subsidiary or linked social enterprise?
  • can a charity transfer its own assets and staff to a social enterprise, and if so, how?


Employee and community buyouts

Geof Cox edited Anthony Jensen's book on Insolvency and Employee Buyouts, and chaired the Athens Conference on worker takeovers of insolvent companies in Greece opened by the Syriza Government Minister Ourania Antonopoulou.

To download a copy of Insolvency, Employment Rights & Employee Buyouts click here.


More examples...

As well as specialising is organisational structures and restructuring, Geof Cox Associates also have particular expertise in a number of other aspects of social enterprise such as disability and social inclusion, the arts and creative industries, and the role of social enterprise in transitional economies (former planned economies, for example).

  • Hannan Majid and Richard York are not only prodigiously talented young film makers - they also use their work to effect social change, not only by bringing subjects such as the lives of street children to a wider audience but also applying the profits made by their Rainbow Collective to directly benefit their subjects. Geof Cox Associates helped them develop this business model and organisational structure.

  • Geof Cox's original guide to music co-operatives 'Are You Ready for a Brand New Beat?' has been re-written by David Barnard and re-published by The Musician's Union as 'Altogether Now'.  The new guide can be downloaded free here.

This publication comes exactly 20 years after we launched the first music co-operative based on this model - The North East Music Co-op - recalled by Geof Cox hereDavid Barnard led one of the first replications of the model, the Swindon Music Co-operative.

It represents a straightforward, tax-efficient and fair way of organising self-employed musicians to work together.  It is particularly suited to artists - because it can simplify intellectual propety and other creativity issues - but can be used by any coherent groups of self-employed people who want to work together sometimes, or would like a common structure to provide marketing or back-office services.

The original work on employment status and tax-efficiency for the musicians' model later helped in the development of the miEnterprise model - which provides a support structure for people with disabilities who want to become economically active through their own micro-enterprise - the latest manifestation of which is Wits-End Wizardry.


Download Geof Cox's full 'Europass' CV here.