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Social Entrepreneurs

Generating positive returns


The sustainable investment market is growing rapidly. As investors increasingly direct new flows of capital towards achieving social and environmental impact, opportunities for social entrepreneurs to attract capital in order to start up and scale up their businesses have never been greater. 

Starting a new business, or taking it on a new growth trajectory, can be a daunting process. There are a range of legal and commercial issues to consider in order to safeguard and strengthen long-term social and financial returns.

Knowing you can rely on your lawyers to provide technical advice, rooted in practicality, commerciality and deep market understanding, is vital. With Herbert Smith Freehills by your side, you'll be supported throughout the investment lifecycle, by a top tier global law firm with 2,900+ lawyers in 27 offices, spanning the UK, Australia, Asia, Europe, the US and the Middle East.

Through our market-leading social finance and sustainable investment practice - HSF Impact - we support social entrepreneurs every step of the way, leveraging our contacts and mobilising our expertise across the globe to support the growth and success of your business.

We're passionate about supporting innovation to generate long-lasting positive returns. To find out how we can help you achieve your social and financial objectives, download a copy of Impact Investment: Generating positive returns.

Top questions to ask your lawyer

  • What is the best structure for my business?
  • Should I include a mission lock in my articles of association? Are there any other provisions I should include?
  • What form of financing should I seek? Debt? Equity? Grant funding? And what is quasi equity?
  • What do investors want in return for their investment and what are the key terms I need in my investment agreement?
  • How can I future-proof my business for exits and departures?
  • How can I protect my intellectual property (IP)? Can I transfer my IP?
  • What are the key issues I need to be aware of when entering into commercial contracts?
  • What is GDPR and how do I make sure my business is compliant?
  • What should I include in my website ts&cs?
  • Should I hire consultants or employees? What's the difference and why does it matter? What should I include in a consulting agreement or contract of employment?
  • How can I use a non-disclosure agreement to safeguard information about my business?
  • What are directors' duties? How do I appoint people to the board? How do I terminate an appointment?
  • How should I run board meetings?
  • How do I prepare for an exit?

Click here to acess our start-up pack to help you build strong and adequate legal foundations for your business.

Recent Experience


Advising on corporate governance and an initial seed round capital raise by way of a private placement


Advising on corporate governance, data protection, intellectual property, financial regulation issues and capital raising, including negotiations with Development Finance Institutions


Advising on commercial agreements and on its initial fundraising rounds, including by way of convertible debt


Advising on corporate structure, including tax and charity law issues, governance, grant funding arrangements, intellectual property and commercial agreements

Spare Snacks

Advising on its initial capital raising rounds by way of equity crowdfunding


Advising on corporate structure, partnership agreements, financial services regulation and issues arising in relation to crowdfunding

Insights and updates

20th September 2018
Our brochure includes an introduction to our impact investment practice alongside case studies and current...
11th September 2018
Four case studies highlighting practical examples of one of the most touted trends in sustainable...
11th September 2018
As public finances are increasingly under pressure and fewer funds are available to address the...
26th February 2018
In this article we look at how transparency and business ethics are driving supply chains...

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