Social enterprises play a dynamic role in Scottish life


Refuweegee is one of Scotland's social business successes.

Not for profit sector is growing at a consistent rate

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6th September 2019 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

Scotland boasts a vibrant social enterprise sector that contributes £2.3 billion annually to our economy.

That’s one of the finding of a biannual snapshot which outlines the success of not for profit businesses.

The 2019 Social Enterprise in Scotland Census, published this week, shows that the sector is growing at a consistent rate.

There are now an estimated 6,025 active social enterprises in Scotland, a 16% growth since 2015.

Social enterprises are defined as businesses which feature an asset lock - which means profits are put back into the business rather than going to shareholders or into the pockets of individuals.

There has also been an increase of 425 such firms in the last two years.

The census outlines the leading role social enterprises play in women’s empowerment, with 65% led by women.

It is also a significant employer – with 88,318 full time employees, as opposed to 81,357 two years ago, a 9% increase.

However, there are still major challenges, despite this success.

The census – which analysed the financial statements of more than 4,500 groups and the returns of a large scale survey – found that the “most widely declared barrier relates to insecure or declining grant funding, an obstacle consistently reported by respondents.”

Scottish Government communities secretary Aileen Campbell welcomed the report.

She tweeted: “This census shows some incredible results and captures all that is good in social enterprise. But what next? How do we keep Scotland in the lead for supporting soc ent? What structural changes are needed? And what should the strategy focus on next?”