Our sustainability stories

HiSbe, one of the first social enterprises supported by SE Assist, is open for business

14 Jan 2014

Legal & General, working with Charities Aid Foundation and the Cabinet Office, set up a programme called SE Assist just over 12 months ago to deliver a package of mentoring, financial and consultancy support for Social Enterprises in the Brighton area.

The scheme works with established businesses in an area to support a number of local social enterprises. Social entrepreneurs have the chance to get their businesses off the ground with the help of the scheme, which provides funding and support from businesses in their local communities.

Following a thorough application, due-diligence and pitch-process, hiSbe was one of the organisations successful in securing a first-round package of support.

Who are HISBE?

HiSbe want to make good, sustainable food affordable and accessible. That’s how it should be! Supermarkets started in the 1960s and hiSbe think they are out of date and out of touch. Ruth and Amy Anslow, the visionaries behind the concept, believe the food industry needs a new type of supermarket for the 21st century. A supermarket that puts fair and transparent trading practices first, sources food in a responsible way and helps people on average incomes and everyday diets make choices for a more sustainable food industry.


CIC is a social enterprise. That means it’s like a normal commercial business in that it is run for profit, but it exists for a social purpose that is as equally important as the profit bit. CIC stands for 'Community Interest Company' and it’s a legal structure. It ensures that profits are invested back into that social purpose and not all just taken out of the company for the benefit of directors or shareholders.

HiSbe’s social purpose is to help people use their Shopper Power to make the food system fairer and more sustainable.

What Have They Done?

On 7 December, HiSbe hosted the grand-opening of their pilot store in York Place, Brighton. This follows years of planning and a particularly frantic 12 months during which they secured premises, raised over £200k, established their supply chain, designed and completed the fit-out of the store and recruited the fantastic HiSbe store team.

You can see from the pictures the amazing realization of their vision. Getting to this stage has been a truly fantastic achievement but now the real hard work begins – building a long-term, sustainable business that can serve the local community effectively for years to come. It would be great if you could show your support by visiting them when you’re in the area.