The social enterprise sector in Scotland is vibrant, growing and making a difference to communities and the environment the length and breadth of the country. National support bodies are working hard to provide relevant and effective support covering all aspects of setting up, developing and running a social enterprise, from business planning, finance, funding and governance to influencing policy at a national level.
If you are thinking about setting up a social enterprise, need support for an existing social enterprise or want to find out more about social enterprise, please see the following guide for information and links to national support bodies:
Social Enterprise Scotland is the collective and campaigning voice of social enterprise, and provides access to Scotland’s social enterprise community. They are an independent membership led organisation that works to raise the profile of social enterprise, and represent members’ interests at a national policy level. Having developed an on-line one-stop resource they bring together all the relevant information and different aspects of the social enterprise community in one place. Visit their website to find out more social enterprise.
Senscot’s vision is of a socially just Scotland where social entrepreneurs and their initiatives are a valued part of everyday life. To achieve this, Senscot builds and services a network to help social entrepreneurs become more effective. They do this by:
- Connecting and informing social entrepreneurs
- Facilitating networks
- Developing the sector
Find out more about Senscot by visiting their website: www.senscot.net
Just Enterprise is a consortium of some of Scotland’s key social enterprise support bodies, providing a free, one-stop business support, development and learning service for social enterprise. The Just Enterprise consortium consists of the following specialist sector support agencies CEIS, HISEZ, Firstport, the Social Enterprise Academy, Forth Sector Development, Community Enterprise Ltd, CEMVO Scotland, Lanarkshire Enterprise Services Ltd (LESL), Ready for Business and Inspiralba.
Senscot Legal was established in 2010 to provide support in legal matters to the social enterprise sector and wider third sector. A social enterprise themselves Senscot Legal provide affordable, high quality legal advice. For further information about Senscot Legal visit their website: www.se-legal.net
Funding and Social Investment
Firstport is Scotland’s development agency for start-up social enterprise, and is responsible for managing the Scottish Government’s Social Entrepreneurs Fund in conjunction with Scotland Unlimited. Firstport enables pre start-up and start-up social entrepreneurs to test, refine and grow their ideas in to viable social enterprise businesses. Find out more about Firstport, Scotland Unltd and the social entrepreneurs fund on the Firstport website.
Social Investment Scotland (SIS) is a charity and social enterprise that provides loans to the Third sector bin Scotland. Set up by the Scottish Government in 2001, SIS has supported many social enterprises to scale-up, grow and deliver increased social impact. Find out more about SIS here Social Investment Scotland (SIS)
Responsible Finance (the new name for the Community Development Finance Association (CDFA)) represents Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFI’s) who provide loans to people and businesses who struggle to get finance from high street banks. They provide support as well as finance, giving extra help and advice when it’s needed. Find out more about Responsible Finance and other CDFI’s on the Responsible Finance website.
Other sources of funding and investment include:
The Big Lottery: The Big Lottery
Funding Scotland: Funding Scotland
Community Shares Scotland: Community Shares Scotland
DSL Business Finance: dsl-businessfinance
Training and Education
The Social Enterprise Academy (SEA) was established in 2004 and has supported over 7500 people with learning and development opportunities all over Scotland. Find out more about their innovative approach, training programmes and development opportunities on the Social Enterprise Academy website.
The School for Social Entrepreneurs (Scotland) (SSE) provides on-going training and support across Scotland to individuals trying to create and sustain social businesses. Find out more about the SSE and the training and support available on the School for Social Entrepreneurs (Scotland) website.
Other providers of training/education for social enterprise include:
The University of Strathclyde: The Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship
Edinburgh Napier University: The Business School
Scottish Institute for Enterprise: Scottish Institute for Enterprise
Young Enterprise Scotland: Young Enterprise Scotland
The Voluntary Code of Practice for Social Enterprise in Scotland
“The Code”, as it is known, was developed by the Scottish social enterprise community in response to the UK-wide debate around a definition of what a social enterprise is. Many in the Scottish social enterprise community felt that the debate was blurring the lines between genuine social enterprises and private businesses delivering social benefits for private profit. The Code highlights a set of shared values and behaviours, and provides the foundation for a self-regulatory community of mutual understanding. Sign up to The Code, or find out more about The Code on the dedicated website.
Scotland’s Social Enterprise Strategy 2016-2026, is a ten-year, national social enterprise strategy, which sets out the Scottish Government’s shared ambitions for social enterprise in Scotland, jointly developed with the sector. It provides a framework for action over the next decade.
The strategy will build on the supportive ecosystem, developed over the previous decade, and will cement Scotland’s reputation as world-leading and the best place to start and grow a social enterprise.
The strategy focuses on three main priorities:
1) Stimulating social enterprise
2) Developing stronger organisations
3) Realising market opportunities
To access the full Strategy please visit the Scottish Government website.
Social Enterprise in Scotland Census
The first social enterprise in Scotland census carried out in 2015 outlines the scale and impact of the social enterprise sector in Scotland. The census was funded by the Big Lottery, Co-operative Development Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Nesta, Social Investment Scotland, Scottish Enterprise and The Scottish Government, and it reveals a growing, vibrant and diverse sector.
2015 Key Sector Highlights
(Please click on the above image to enlarge.)
The full Social Enterprise in Scotland Census 2015 report can be accessed on the Community Enterprise in Scotland (CEIS) website.
The second Social Enterprise Census was completed in autumn 2017, and can be downloaded in various formats from the CEIS or Social Enterprise Scotland website. The highlights can be viewed below.
2017 Key Sector Highlights
(Please click on the above image to enlarge.)