Social Enterprises Thriving – Local Case Study & Stats

Published on 19/11/2014

Social Enterprise Day on Thursday 20th November is part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, which runs 17th – 23rd November 2014. Social enterprise – business with a social or environmental mission - in the UK is thriving. Social enterprises have a higher start-up rate than traditional SMEs and 1 in 5 start-ups is now socially-driven. There are 180,000 in the UK alone, contributing £24 billion to the economy.

East Surrey based case study First Community Health and Care

First Community Health and Care is a community based social enterprise that delivers a range of NHS healthcare services from therapy services such as audiology and podiatry, to district nursing and services at Caterham Dene Hospital.  First Community plays a vital role in the local health community, to ensure local people have good, prompt access to first rate care. We are a not for profit organisation and, as such any surplus we make is used to reinvest into our community services.

We have been delighted to invest an amount of the surplus we made to the local community through enhancing certain community services and investing into local organisations which support people’s health and wellbeing.

First Community has achieved outstanding results this year becoming fully accredited by UNICEFs Stage 3 Baby Friendly Initiative and we have extended the opening times of our Minor Injury Unit at Caterham Dene Hospital into the weekends and evenings, which has proved extremely popular locally and helps us to serve our community.

Key stats about UK social enterprise

  • More than a third (38%) of all social enterprises operate in the UK’s most deprived communities, compared to 12% of traditional SMEs
  • Half of social enterprises (52%) actively employ people who are disadvantaged in the labour market, including ex-offenders, people with disabilities and the long-term unemployed
  • More people are moving from the private sector than any other sector to work in social enterprise (35%, compared with 33% from the public sector and 17% from charities and the voluntary sector).
  • Social enterprises are far more likely to be led by women than mainstream businesses. 38% of social enterprises have a female leader, compared with 19% of SMEs and 7% of FTSE 100 companies.
  • The majority of social enterprises (57%) draw 100% of their workforce from the local areas in which they operate.

Reference: The People’s Business report (2013)

Key points on the UK social enterprise movement

  • Social enterprises have a primarily social mission – but instead of asking for donations or grants they do business and turn over profits to achieve it – think Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, Belu water, The People’s Supermarket, Divine Chocolate.
  • On September 13th, the UK saw its first Social Saturday – a day to buy from social enterprises, gathering support from celebrities and politicians including the Prime Minister and Jamie Oliver.
  • Public institutions are pledging to ‘buy social’ – including the House of Commons, which now stocks social enterprise bottled water, Belu.
  • Private companies are increasingly getting involved social enterprise. Close to half of all social enterprises now trade with the private sector. Corporates are rethinking how they do traditional CSR by incorporating social enterprises into their supply chains. One of the largest construction companies, Wates Group, has pledged to spend £20 million with the sector by 2020.
  • The UK’s social enterprise sector is one of the country’s most successful exports. Countries around the world are looking to the UK example to discover how they can build social enterprise into their economies.
  • The UK is also now home to the world’s largest social investment market – a new and growing financial market where investors seek social as well as financial returns. Research estimates the market is growing by 20% a year, making around £200m worth of deals.
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