Stephen promises to expand social enterprise
Enterprise Minister Nicol Stephen has given his backing to Scottish Executive plans to significantly expand the country’s social enterprise sector – businesses which trade and use their profits for a social purpose.
Speaking at an event to mark the first anniversary of the Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition (SSEC), Mr Stephen announced that the Executive’s first dedicated strategy for social enterprise will be launched early in the New Year.
The Executive’s strategy will include action to open up new markets, improve finance and business support options for the sector and raise the profile of social enterprise with key audiences.
The minister said he wanted to significantly expand social enterprise opportunities and see more businesses grow. ‘We will publish our social enterprise strategy for Scotland early next year and I look forward to seeing social enterprises go further, demonstrating their increasing value and entering new markets with a dynamic, entrepreneurial approach.’
It is estimated that there are around 3,000 social enterprises in Scotland, trading in areas right across the economy.
The SSEC is a membership-led campaign group bringing together key organisations and individuals in the social enterprise sector. It recently launched a manifesto for social enterprise calling for a 10% target of public procurement spending to be delivered through social enterprises and the creation of new investment funds for the sector.
Antonia Swinson, Chief Executive of the Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition, said the recognition that social enterprises can play a key role in solving many of Scotland’s most pressing social and environmental challenges was welcome, and said it is vital that the social enterprise strategy provide a platform for long-term growth and investment in developing social enterprise. ‘It must create opportunities for social enterprises in a range of markets and provide the specialist finance and development support they need as businesses.’