Constance: Scotland’s social enterprise is world leader
‘Social enterprises are contributing to a fairer, more equal and inclusive Scotland’ – Communities Secretary Angela Constance
Scotland’s social enterprise strategy has delivered more than £7 million of investment in its first year. Since the strategy was launched in December 2016, £1.2 million has gone into free specialist business support, £1.1 million into a national social enterprise incubator and £330,000 to provide social enterprise learning in primary and secondary schools across the country.
Social enterprises are businesses that trade for the common good. They seek to make profits, but are committed to reinvesting these into a social or environmental mission. Launched at the Grassmarket Community Project, winner of Social Enterprise of the Year 2017, the strategy is Scotland’s first ever long-term plan for the sector and is set over ten years.
Reflecting on the strategy’s first year, Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities, Angela Constance said: “Scotland’s social enterprise sector is seen as a world leader thanks to more than a decade of sustained investment and support. Social enterprises trade for the common good; strengthen our communities, improve people’s life chances and protect the environment.
“Our ten-year strategy demonstrates our on-going commitment to this innovative sector. I’m delighted to see it helping so many social entrepreneurs to turn their business ideas in reality. This is just the start and I’m looking forward to see how many more wonderful projects will flourish over the next nine years.
“Social enterprises contribute £2 billion to our economy each year and employs 80,000 people; so they are contributing to the wider economy as well as delivering projects and services in local communities. They are contributing to a fairer, more equal and inclusive Scotland.”
Edinburgh’s social enterprises have continued to flourish. A recent report produced by Edinburgh Social Enterprise (below) shows increased numbers of volunteers, paid staff and turnover: paid posts have increased by almost 10 times in 4 years (3.5 times in 2 years) showing that social enterprise is a growing area for employment, whilst volunteer hours contributed an estimated value of £1.29m to social enterprises for the 12 months to July 2017.
More Social Enterprises are reporting higher percentages of income coming from trade, rather than other sources of income, such as grants, with some members reporting 100% income from trade. Edinburgh Social Enterprises continue to show high levels of consumer facing trade, with 49% selling direct to the public.
In summary, Social Enterprise is creating employment, training and volunteering opportunities: increasingly contributing to Edinburgh’s economy: becoming more robust and sustainable as a sector (against challenging market conditions) and increasingly trading at an international level.
Social Enterprises provide vital support and services to the most vulnerable people in Edinburgh, with 76% of respondents reporting that they have 200 or more beneficiaries.