CIC Association

Serving Community Enterprise

Hi All,

I am trying to start a company that I want to set up as a CIC.  My trouble is in choosing whether or not to be limited by shares or limited by guarantee.

My business is designing, building, and selling adaptive outdoor sports equipment for people with disabilities, and providing training for use of the equipment, both for customers that have purchased equipment and for schools, clubs etc where we will provide the kit.  Now the key is that the kind of equipment I'm talking about currently retails for anywhere between £3500 and £10000, but we will be providing it for between £1500 and £4000, or less if I can do it.

Everything I have read so far suggests that as a sales and service based business I should be looking to be limited by shares, but my heart tells me I want to be limited by guarantee so that I can truly claim to be a not-for-profit company.

I would really appreciate any and all advice that you can offer...

Many thanks,


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Replies to This Discussion

That is a

Sorry John.  All I can see three messages above here is a 'W', and all I got in the message before this reply is 'That is a'.  I'm not sure if the problem is at my end (either my laptop is knackered or I am really missing something!), or your end...


Just came off the phone with John and he has been the best advice so far on trying setting up to decide between Limited by guarantee or limited by shares..? i was working on this with Voluntary Action so i told them what i am trying to do, as i worked with alot of organisations as volunteer for 10 years and learnt so much and developed so many different project and delivered lots of workshop/training/mentoring/coaching programs. Now is the time take it the next level.

My business is providing specialist workshops, conference featuring a series of lectures, Q&A’s, presentations and master-classes by a selection of industry experts in alternative music industry and using creative art business models.

Through 3 key themes: live events, artist/professional development and learn and participation, we will support young people and emerging artists prepare for their careers in the industry. Improving services and activities for young people in UK through creative opportunities committed to bringing out the best in young people’s abilities and ambitions.

Surpluses will be reinvested back into the organisation to increase the level and range of services we provide. This means that we can build capacity of our staff and improve our resources and services which will ultimately helps us to empower and support more young people from across the community.

It will have only 2 Directors, I would appreciate any or more advice that you (John) can offer or anybody on here...

Basic place to start Godfrey is how do you plan to fund this initially?

Are you looking to provide a return of capital to investors? Will you offer investors a share of any profit?

Do you need a small pot of money without paying it back? How much?

Do you want the artists/youth to own the company? Or do you prefer to be in charge and have a system that lets them participate in development?

My default selection for you would be a small membership, company limited by guarantee. Dont forget that it will only cost £35 to have one of each. That isnt desirable but I just want to show that you can add to your plan as you move forward. Obviously the answers to the above and your business plan can change that, more than happy to argue for either case or against each other.

The other big elephant in the room is the potential changes in regulation that are about to happen, which could make being a share company a lot more attractive.

Clear as mud!



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