Driving Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: DEI on the journey towards an Impact Economy

Posted: 31 August 2023, in Awards-Blog-News

BLOG by Lindsay Wake, Head of Impact and Communications, Social Investment Scotland

In an ever-evolving landscape, success is no longer measured by only financial prosperity. The team at Social Investment Scotland (SIS), with the help of our valued partners, have been working hard towards our vision for an Impact Economy.

We believe that a prosperous future is possible when social entrepreneurs, businesses, consumers, investors and governments are aligned for the common good, working towards positive social and environmental goals and always considering the impact of their actions.

An Impact Economy is an inclusive economy – where richness of diversity is valued and communities across Scotland can fully participate and benefit from social, economic and environmental action. This is why SIS has an unwavering commitment to progress our own diversity practice and is encouraging others to do the same.

DEI and the Impact Economy

An Impact Economy, in alignment with the Scottish Government’s aspiration for a broader Wellbeing economy, is at the heart of SIS’s strategy. We recognise that to foster genuine progress, diversity, inclusion, equity, and justice need to become the norm. It is important to acknowledge that these values are not only morally driven but fundamentally essential for a sustainable, prosperous society. Commitment to diversity and inclusion unlocks the ideas, perspectives and collaborations required to find solutions and build a better society.

Impact through incremental progress

Developing DEI practice is a journey, and while we still have a way to go, we are proud of our progress to date. We thank those who have shared their insight, stories and strategies to help us improve DEI within SIS. A policy overhaul through a diversity lens, dedication to recruitment as free as possible from bias, and a commitment to gender balance in board appointments all highlight our commitment. Our journey has been steady, acknowledging that incremental progress is a powerful catalyst for change.

A dedicated DEI Champion

Positive impact is at the heart of our mission. This is why we value having an impact specialist on our team in the form of a passionate and knowledgeable Head of Impact and Communications, Lindsay Wake. Together with our CEO and a staff Diversity Working Group Lindsay drives impact initiatives across the organisation and has been a real DEI champion internally at SIS, for our customers, and for the wider social enterprise ecosystem. Holding us accountable and offering advice, Lindsay has had a pivotal role to play in the positive changes we have achieved to date.

Pioneering DEI in the social enterprise ecosystem

Our ongoing work in collaboration with organisations across the sector provides useful guidance for enterprises embarking on their own DEI journey. This year Lindsay, with expert input from Scottish social enterprises focused on progressing DEI, is delivering a series of new introductory Just Enterprise DEI workshops to help others take their first steps.

Celebrating excellence

This year, we are honoured to sponsor the “Building Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Justice Award” at the Social Enterprise Awards Scotland 2023. We are pleased to be able to shine a light on those who exemplify the ethos of diversity and inclusion and are flying the flag for progression and positive impact. Check out the finalists here.

More steps on the road to DEI

SIS plans to continue its ambition, accountability and action as a means for progress. By fostering partnerships with experts, we are aiming to better support the organisations we exist to serve. Initiatives like online DEI training modules for teams and investees, inclusive communication strategies, and external verification of our DEI efforts will ensure DEI is a core pillar in our vision of an Impact Economy.

Irene Mosota, Vice Chair of Social Enterprise Scotland at the 2022 Awards.

Get involved with DEI

We hope that SIS’s journey to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion offers inspiration to enterprises of all sizes all across the ecosystem as we all continue to motivate, educate and inspire each other with our progress. We encourage you to check out the Social Enterprise Award Scotland finalists as leaders on this journey.

Most importantly, this could be your organisation next year, so we encourage you to implement even small changes, gradually, as you work towards your own DEI transformation. The positive impact we’re all striving for is amplified when our collective efforts are focused on equity, justice, and inclusivity.

Photo: Lindsay Wake

Social Enterprise Awards Scotland 2023

The Awards reception takes place at the Scottish Parliament on Thursday 26th October (5.30pm-7.30pm) and is hosted by Beatrice Wishart MSP this year. Tickets are currently available here.

The evening is an opportunity to showcase the very best of the sector, highlighting the agility, ability, and active role that social enterprises play in building places, supporting communities, and making a positive impact on our environment and wellbeing. Social Enterprise Scotland is looking forward to celebrating the innovation and impact of Scotland’s social enterprises at the in-person Social Enterprise Awards ceremony. From the Highlands and Islands to the central belt and south of Scotland, Scotland’s social enterprises are building a stronger, fairer, and more just society from the ground up. These awards are a fantastic opportunity for social enterprises around Scotland to showcase and gain much deserved recognition for the incredible work that they do.

Social Investment Scotland is the proud sponsor of the Building Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Justice Award Category, a new category for 2023.