FIRST APPEARED IN THE GUARDIAN JULY 9TH, 2013
AUTHOR: DAVID MILLS
SVT SUMMARY OF ORIGINAL ARTICLE
A new Social Enterprise UK (SEUK) study suggests that the social enterprise sector has three times the start-up rate of mainstream SMEs.
• According to the survey, 38% of social enterprises surveyed saw an increase in their turnover in the last twelve months with 29% of SMEs surveyed by the Department for Business. More than half of social enterprises (56%) developed a new product or service, compared with 43% of SMEs. Two-thirds (63%) of social enterprises expect their turnover to increase in the next two to three years, almost double the number of SMEs (37%).
• More than a third of respondents (38%) operate in the UK’s most deprived communities, compared to 12% of traditional SMEs - and half of the respondents (52%) actively employ people who are disadvantaged in the labour market, including ex-offenders, people with disabilities and the long-term unemployed.
• The report also reveals a diverse sector. Social enterprises are much more likely to be led by women than mainstream businesses - 38% of respondents had a female chief executive, compared with 19% of SMEs, and 3% of FTSE 100 companies.
• Almost a quarter (23%) of social enterprises are run by younger leaders aged 25-44, while one in ten (13%) are led by people over the age of 65. Social enterprises are twice as likely as mainstream SMEs to be led by someone with a black, asian or minority ethnic background.
Peter Holbrook, chief executive of Social Enterprise UK, said: “There’s growing interest in social enterprise – it’s the sector where entrepreneurs are choosing to set up businesses. This fact speaks volumes about people’s motivations and a desire for change in the way that businesses behave and their contribution to society.”
Reacting to the report, Gareth Thomas MP, Labour’s shadow minister for civil society said: “What we need to see now is for more barriers to be broken down for social enterprises, so that they can continue to thrive and crucially too so that they can bid for their fair share of contracts.”
The full report can be read here.