• Social Entrepreneur Index

Social Entrepreneur Index Nominee: REACH Homes


Jon Johnson talks to us about building affordable low-energy eco-homes and his plans for the future of the social enterprise.

REACH Homes

What does your social enterprise do?


Build affordable low-energy eco-homes which will change the housing market


What made you start your business up?


Desperate need to build the right homes in the right places at the right price to provide choice and quality and sustainable buildings which tackle climate change.


How do you measure your impact?


We have a wide suite of impact measures, both qualitative and quantitative.


What help did you have to start your social enterprise?


Volunteers, pro-bono help, 2 small grants, one small repayable investment.


How did you decide on what legal form would work best for your business?


We chose the CIC to enable us to build co-housing schemes and issue community shares and because it was an inclusive way of getting a wide range of people on board.


What’s the best thing about being a social entrepreneur?


The sheer terror of not knowing what’s going to happen next and the determined and ever-elusive conviction that your idea will change the world – one day….


What has been your biggest challenge when setting up and running your social enterprise?


Getting the thousands of people who tell you it’s a great idea to back that up with land, money and actual tangible support.


What advice would you give to aspiring social entrepreneurs?


Join (or start!) your local SocEnt Network, keep great records, make sure your business plan makes sense to lots of friends or network contacts - and ring-fence time for yourself.


What information sources would you recommend to help someone just starting their social enterprise journey?


Social Enterprise UK, Social Enterprise Yorks & Humber, Sheffield Social Enterprise Network,


What are your plans for the next 2-5 years?


Build first commercial property, set up offsite factory, build 12 house residential pilot, build up to 600 units per year from 1st factory, return 100% of our operating surplus to community schemes, open more factories, build up to 6000 affordable eco-homes every year, bring back UN SDGs and sustainable building training into the construction industry.

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