Social Enterprise World Forum heads to Scotland

Social enterprise event web

Muhammad Yunus

Glasgow Caledonian University will play a major role in the event

29th September 2017 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Scotland’s growing reputation as a world-leading centre of social enterprise research has attracted a major international event.

Up to 1200 delegates from 40 countries – including social entrepreneurs, politicians and academics - will attend the Social Enterprise Word Forum next September.

The Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health, Glasgow Caledonian University’s (GCU) flagship research centre, will play a major role in the forum. 

Named after one of the world’s best known social entrepreneurs, the Nobel Peace Laureate and Chancellor of GCU, Muhammad Yunus, the centre will host a two-day event before the main gathering in Edinburgh and will use the occasion to promote Scotland as the leading country in the world for social enterprise research.

The university will showcase some of the new research methods assessing the impact that social enterprises – businesses that trade for social benefit rather for the personal enrichment of owners or shareholders – are having in reducing inequality, changing lives and creating fairer societies. 

The forum has grown significantly since it was first held in Scotland in 2008. Accepting the handover of the event, Scottish Government cabinet secretary Angela Constance MSP said: “Social enterprises are fantastic examples of what we want to achieve in a fairer Scotland – reducing inequality, lifting people out of poverty and encouraging more empowered and resilient communities.

“It is staggering, but perhaps unsurprising, that the sector makes a combined contribution to the Scottish economy every year of just over £2 billion.”

Dr Michael Roy, senior lecturer in social business at GCU, said: “Scotland is leading the world when it comes to social enterprise research.

“We are well known for having an incredibly supportive policy environment for such businesses to thrive in Scotland. But now we have the largest team of academics working on the biggest projects, and our work is attracting international interest.”

Gerry Higgins, chief executive of Glasgow-based social enterprise CEiS, said partnership with the Scottish Government and its investment of millions of pounds through its ten-year social enterprise strategy is putting Scotland at the forefront of this rapidly growing sector.

He said: “We know there is a real passion to establish social enterprise as a viable business model for non-profits looking for sustainability and entrepreneurs seeking to create businesses that benefit society.

“The World Forum in 2018 will enable delegates to experience our unique Scottish and UK social enterprise scene, where social enterprises and government are working together to tackle inequality, build healthy communities and create vibrant local economies.”