New social enterprises add £1.7 billion to Scotland

Scotland is a world-leading nation when it comes to social enterprise, having a fairer and more inclusive way of doing business.

George Clooney meeting owner Josh Littlejohn as he visits Social Bite. Picture: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire
George Clooney meeting owner Josh Littlejohn as he visits Social Bite. Picture: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire

Over 200 new social enterprises are formed each year in Scotland, with over 5,000 currently in business. They provide over 112,400 jobs in Scotland and contribute approximately £1.7bn to the Scottish economy.

These statistics were unveiled by the first ever census of social enterprises, which has revealed that they are a thriving and growing business community.

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Social Enterprise Scotland said it allowed them to have a clearer direction for the future, and a better indication of where to direct business support to make messages clearer when talking to the public, media and politicians.

60 per cent of these social enterprises have a woman as their most senior employee, with 68 per cent of them paying at least the Living Wage, if not more.

26 per cent of all social enterprises are found in Glasgow or Edinburgh, but surprisingly 22 per cent of them are located in the Highlands and Islands.

Fraser Kelly, chief executive, Social Enterprise Scotland: “2015 has been the year for moving forward with a vision and strategy for social enterprise for the next ten years. Key support organisations working in social enterprise have come together in partnership to develop a brand new vision, working with the census results, to focus minds and take us to the next stages.

“As we look forward to 2016, we have a unique opportunity to raise our collective profile and influence the policies of the next Scottish Government.

“As we look back over the achievements of the past year, it’s worth remembering that social enterprise is about creating a new type of economy and society that benefits us all. Social enterprises are not just about helping certain excluded groups in society, social enterprise is good for everyone.”

Rachael McCormack of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, speaking on behalf of the project steering group, said: “This excellent report confirms the scale and vital contribution of social enterprise to society and to the economy in the Highlands and Islands and to Scotland as a whole. Social enterprise is a business model that helps tackle social issues, promote equality and achieve sustainable economic growth. These are the reasons that we attach so much importance to social enterprise and are working with social entrepreneurs to strengthen leadership, innovation and the business dimension of their enterprises. Working together in this way will help achieve our shared ambition to grow the social enterprise community year on year.”

Alex Neil MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Communities and Pensioners’ Rights, The Scottish Government, said: “Social enterprises are making a real difference to the lives of people in our communities and have a major role to play in our drive for social justice. This census shows they are embracing the principles of fairness and equality with more than two thirds of social enterprises paying at least the living wage and with women taking on senior positions in 60 per cent of these organisations. We look forward to working with the sector in the period ahead.”