Opening with some important sentiments, "Social Enterprises across Scotland are characterised by kindness and compassion...now more than ever, we need a strong and resilient social enterprise sector to help move Scotland forward”, the plan continues to focus on three priority areas of stimulating the sector, developing stronger organisations and realising market opportunities.
The document contains a range of pledges and initiatives to enhance our social enterprise movement and there’s a summary of the key commitments at the end too. It’s clear that the government see social enterprises playing a key role to reduce inequality, support healthy communities and deliver an inclusive, wellbeing economy.
Some of the key themes include the climate emergency. As COP26 approaches we know that climate change will see a stronger focus on the role of social enterprise. The plan notes “we will introduce measures that will enable and support the social enterprise sector to lead by example in combating climate change.”
The plan also commits to diversity and equality, building a trading mindset within the third sector and developing funding and finance. The plan emphasises the importance of social enterprise to traditional third sector organisations, with moves to “encourage programmes that enable people within the third sector to develop entrepreneurial behaviours, mindsets and skills."
In addition it includes actions on building local places and business support, as well as building markets. Crucially it talks about public service reform. In terms of public services there is huge potential to do things differently. Procurement reform will be a significant driver for social enterprises moving forwards. The recent announcement about the nationalisation of ScotRail is a key example of opening up new opportunities for social enterprise business models.
Social Enterprise Scotland looks forward to working closely with The Scottish Government and our partners to implement the new plan, to ensure we map the best way forward for social enterprises in every part of Scotland.
Notably the Action Plan recognises the vital role of our young entrepreneurs: “by 2024 every school child will have the opportunity to engage with a social enterprise project in their school career, introducing the benefits of the social enterprise model to young people across Scotland”.
This is an important reminder that we’re building our social enterprise community and a world-class ecosystem of support for both current and future entrepreneurs.
Duncan Thorp, Social Enterprise Scotland