12% increase in the formation of social enterprises in Scotland over only 2 years leads to a £2 billion economic contribution to Scottish economy.


There are now 5 600 social enterprises in Scotland, up from 5 000 in only 2 years. According to the Social Value Lab which carried out the 2017 census:

‘Social enterprises are organisations that trade for the common good. They address

social needs, strengthen communities, improve people’s life chances and protect the


Included in the definition ‘social enterprise’ are charities, voluntary organisations, credit unions, cooperatives and housing associations. You’ll get a fuller picture in the report (link below).

Here are some interesting facts about social enterprises in Scotland:

There are 5 600 in Scotland

79% sell direct to the general public

64% are led by women

The average pay differential is only 1:2.5 [FTSE 100 bosses get 300 times average worker]

81 357 full time workers supported

£3.8 billion total annual income

£287 million surplus

£5 billion net worth

£2 billion contribution to Scottish economy


The Scottish Government secretary for communities, said:

‘I have no doubt of the contribution that social enterprises make to our country. They are fantastic examples of what we want to achieve in a fairer Scotland. The government will continue to support social enterprises through our ten-year strategy, investing millions of pounds into the sector. I am proud of all we have achieved, working collaboratively.’

The Third Force report [link below] described Scotland as a ‘world leader’ in developing social enterprises but I could find no hard evidence in the report to back up this statement. Elsewhere I did find these:

‘The Social Enterprise Academy delivers learning and development programmes which have now reached learners in over 30 countries and has hubs developing in 10 locations around the world.’

‘A Girvan charity will be hailed as a “world leading social enterprise” at the premiere of a new short film at a major global conference in Peru. The film, being screened for the first time at Unesco’s 4th World Congress of Biosphere Reserves in Lima on 15 March, focuses on the Adventure Centre for Education (ACE) which is located in Scotland’s only biosphere reserve in Galloway and Southern Ayrshire.’ 


Click to access Social-Enterprise-in-Scotland-Census-2017-Full-Report.pdf

Footnote: Is there evidence of any part of the Scottish economy declining at the moment?


2 thoughts on “12% increase in the formation of social enterprises in Scotland over only 2 years leads to a £2 billion economic contribution to Scottish economy.

  1. Contrary September 7, 2017 / 10:05 pm

    A biosphere reserve? In Girvan?

    Wow, who would have guessed? Am I thinking of the right thing? An enclosed sustainable environment, that’s what biosphere means to me, but you know what people are like with words these days, it could easily be a circular economy for all I know.


  2. johnrobertson834 September 8, 2017 / 7:51 am

    There used to be an entertainment thingy in Girvan which could have passe for a ‘biosphere’


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