Thousands of visitors expected at social enterprise festival

Organisers are expecting thousands of visitors amid the final countdown to Edinburgh's social enterprise festival.

The Social in the Gardens festival is predicting a big turnout this weekend. Picture: contributed.
The Social in the Gardens festival is predicting a big turnout this weekend. Picture: contributed.

The Social in the Gardens Festival celebrates and raises awareness of the work of social enterprises in the city.

Hoping to build on the success of its inaugural festival last year, the event in Princes Street Gardens is expected to attract some 10,000 visitors this Friday and Saturday.

More than 30 social enterprises, businesses whose profits go back into the community or towards social or environmental causes, will be taking part in the event, including Breadshare Community Bakery, Ginerosity and the Grassmarket Community Project.

The two-day festival will also feature expert advisers from the sector to offer guidance on creating and running a successful social enterprise venture.

Claire Pattullo, chief executive of organisers Edinburgh Social Enterprise, said: “With the generous support of Business Gateway Edinburgh and the other sponsors, we have been able to build on the success of last year’s event.

“Social in the Gardens 2018 promises to be bigger and better with more activities and social enterprises present. We aim to reach as many members of the public as possible to increase their understanding of the good that social enterprises do for communities and encourage them to make a conscious decision to purchase from them.”

Duncan Thorp, a spokesperson for Social Enterprise Scotland, hoped the event would be introduced in other parts of the country. He said: “It’s great that social entrepreneurs are connecting with locals and tourists to promote the brilliant diversity of social enterprises in the city.

“This kind of outdoor festival idea can be replicated across Scotland and bring social enterprise into the mainstream. Choosing to shop in a social enterprise or ethical business benefits everyone.”

The event’s sponsors include Business Gateway Edinburgh, The University of Edinburgh, PwC Edinburgh and the Scottish Government.

Susan Harkins, head of Business Gateway Edinburgh, said: “We are delighted to be sponsoring Social in the Gardens Festival again this year and really looking forward to what will be another fantastic event.

“We work with many social enterprises to help them reach their goals of putting something back into the community, including financial planning and digital support, which is why this is a perfect partnership for us to be involved in.”