Social Enterprise Day
Social Enterprise Day

Social Enterprise Day

19/11/2020 (Staff Post - Iain Cunningham )

For Social Enterprise Day 2020 we're hearing from Iain about Social Enterprises - what are they, what can they do, and what's the impact they have

Social Enterprise - What is it?

A social enterprise is a hybrid organisation half way between a profit and not-for profit enterprise.It operates in a market economy mirroring the private sector. Just like any business it: sells a product or provides a service, employs paid staff, pays its taxes and files accounts. But instead of the profits going to a few individuals they are put back into the company and used to create social or environmental impact.

There is no single legal definition or legal structure for social enterprises, however, in Scotland a business is recognised as a social enterprise if it has an “asset lock”. This means that all the profits the business generates either get re-invested into the business or go to a community of need. 

Why Social Enterprise?

If you want your business to do more than just make a profit, starting a social enterprise may be right for you.  Social enterprises need to generate revenue for sustainability but they also have equally important social or environmental goals.  Managing this 'multiple bottom line' – “Financial, Social and Environmental" - can result in unique challenges. However, bringing about positive change to people and communities can be very satisfying.

Social enterprises are often formed to address a particular social or environmental need. For example, social enterprises often provide employment for people who have traditionally found it hard to enter the labour market, like the long-term unemployed, young people, disabled people or ex-offenders.

Social enterprises can also capitalise on the increasing consumer demand ethically-sourced and produced goods. Highlighting the social and/or environmental credentials of your service/product could give you the edge over your competitors.

There are over 6,000 Social Enterprises nationally with over 60 operating in Renfrewshire, ranging from post office services, recycling and fair-trade shops, childcare providers, health & wellbeing, sports and music tuition, almost any type of business can be a social enterprise. If you are looking for examples and inspiration, head to our network directory

Want to find out more?

Watch this 2minute video

Even during lockdown, Engage Renfrewshire has helped to start up new social entrepreneurs to develop their enterprise idea.

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