NCVO: Social enterprise evidence base to grow

NCVO: Social enterprise evidence base to grow




Social enterprise evidence base to grow as vital new research into the sector’s governance support needs is commissioned


The Governance Hub in partnership with the Social Enterprise Coalition last week announced that it has commissioned the Open University Business School to carry out new research into the governance support needs of social enterprises. The investigation will provide a valuable insight into a sector that is receiving increasing prominence within government yet is still underdeveloped when it comes to a robust evidence base.


Social enterprises are a growing part of the third sector and their governance needs have not yet been mapped or identified. There are at least 55,000 social enterprises in the UK with a combined turnover of £27 billion per year. With social enterprises contributing £8.4 billion per year to the UK economy, almost 1% of annual GDP, good governance mechanisms are essential.


The research will consider the challenges of governing a social enterprise. It will look into the resources and services that are currently being used, identify gaps in support and recommend future actions for the Hub and others.


The announcement of this research comes alongside the confirmation that community funding organisation Capacitybuilders has agreed the Governance Hub’s plans for a new programme of work up until March 2008. The plans are available at


Jolanta Lasota, Head of the Governance Hub, said:


‘We are extremely pleased that Capacitybuilders has agreed the Governance Hub’s plans up until March 2008, enabling us to continue supporting voluntary and community sector organisations in the development of good governance.


‘The governance needs of social enterprises has emerged as a significant area for the Hub to explore. The work will explore the distinctive governance needs and perspectives of this strongly growing part of the third sector and inform our plans.’


‘Our research has shown that voluntary and community organisations face considerable governance challenges including board recruitment, review and support. The Hub has been working to help meet these needs for the past 18 months. We are now keen to find out if the challenges faced by social enterprises are distinctive, and how we and others can provide support to them.’


Jonathan Bland, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise Coalition, said:

‘We are always very keen to build the evidence base surrounding social enterprise and we welcome the opportunity to work with the Hub on this vital area. Good governance is extremely important for social enterprise and as the sector goes from strength to strength this will help us ensure that we know exactly where our specific strengths and challenges lie.’


The research is due to be completed in Summer 2007.