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Community Interest Company (CIC)

A Community Interest Company (CIC) is a type of company structure introduced by the United Kingdom government in 2005 under the Companies (Audit, Investigations and Community Enterprise) Act 2004. It is designed to be used by companies, often social enterprises that want to use their profits and assets for the public good, rather than operating purely in the interest of the owners. CICs are intended to be easy to set up, with all the flexibility and certainty of the company form, but with some special features to ensure they are working for the benefit of the community. 1

A CIC is a business that is principally focused on achieving social objectives. Any surpluses generated must be reinvested for the prescribed, rather than being used to distribute to the shareholders and owners. CICs tackle a wide range of social and environmental issues and operate in all parts of the economy. By using business solutions to achieve public good, it is believed that social enterprises have a distinct and valuable role to play in helping create a strong, sustainable and socially inclusive economy.

There are a great variety of CICs in operation today. They include community enterprises, social firms, mutual organisations such as co-operatives, and large-scale organisations operating locally, regionally, nationally or internationally.

A CIC cannot be formed to support political activities and a company that is a charity cannot be a CIC, unless it gives up its charitable status. However, a charity may apply to register a CIC as a subsidiary company.

Many organisations involved in managing complementary currencies, especially those operating legal backed tender currencies, in the United Kingdom are CICs, including:

–    The Bristol Pound CIC

–    The Brixton Pound CIC

–     The Lewes Pound CIC



  1. Wikipedia, Community Interest Company
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