Setting up a company

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The Big Lemon, a sustainable community bus service in Brighton, is a Community Interest Company (CIC) limited by shares.  This means it can sell shares in the company in order to raise finance, but there are legal limits on dividend payments to ensure that profits are used for social objectives that benefit the community. The Big Lemon chose this model in order to safeguard its aims in law and to make it immediately recognisable as a social enterprise, whilst allowing it to raise finance from the community by selling shares. Incorporation as a CIC is subject to agreement by the CIC Regulator and must be renewed each year by means of an annual CIC Report. If the CIC Regulator is no longer satisfied that the company is working for the benefit of the community, it can withdraw its CIC status.  The Big Lemon sees these features as a way of ensuring the community have confidence that the project is being run in accordance with its mandate, true to its original vision, mission and values, with members of the community being able to participate in the ownership and running of the organisation.

Source: Community-Led Transport Initiatives action pack