Scotland’s £5bn social enterprise sector is booming

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Social Bite is one of Scotland's most successful social firms 

​Six hundred social firms formed in the last two years prove the sector is burgeoning says new report 

6th September 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Social enterprise is booming in Scotland – making the country a world leader in the sector, according to a new report.

Some 5,600 businesses now operate as social enterprises up from 5,000 two years ago and have a combined worth of £5 billion, according to the Social Enterprise in Scotland: Census 2017.

However, the sector, which employs 81,357 full-time employees, is finding it difficult to increase profits with figures showing a 5% reduction in the surplus compared to the last census in 2015.

While the sector made profits of £287 million, certain types of social enterprise said they were struggling to compete against their private sector counterparts, credit unions being one example. 

Gerry Higgins, of Community Enterprise in Scotland (CEIS), said: “The data in the report contains a broadly positive picture, with social enterprises making a significant economic contribution and demonstrating resilience in the face of challenges for the economy and public services.

“The 2017 census also shows that some parts of the sector remain fragile or in need of continuing support to fully realise their potential.

“As public expectations of business and the need for an inclusive economy grow, we need to continue investing in Scotland’s world-class support for social enterprise.”

The census also found that the average differential between the highest and lowest paid worker in a social enterprise was just one to 2.5.

Angela Constance, Scottish Government secretary for communities, said: “I have no doubt of the contribution that social enterprises make to our country. They are fantastic examples of what we want to achieve in a fairer Scotland.

“The government will continue to support social enterprises through our ten-year strategy, investing millions of pounds into the sector. I am proud of all we have achieved, working collaboratively.”