Local Councils Must Seize the Opportunity of Social Enterprise

Posted: 10 April 2012, in Press Release

Date: Tuesday 10 April 2012
Embargo: Immediate
Contact: Duncan Thorp 0131 243 2654 / 07501 221 581 duncan.thorp@socialenterprise.scot

Local councils must seize the opportunity of social enterprise

Social Enterprise Scotland is calling on all Scottish local authorities to seize the huge opportunities presented by social enterprise – as Scotland goes to the polls for the local elections on 3 May.

The body representing Scotland’s diverse social enterprises says that now is the time for councils to prioritise community benefit and do good business with their local social enterprises.

Social Enterprise Scotland launched “New Ideas, New Innovations”, the 2012 local government manifesto for social enterprise in The Scottish Parliament on 20 March. Take a look at the manifesto here.

Laurie Russell, Chair of Social Enterprise Scotland, said:

“Many Scottish local authorities work well with their local social enterprise businesses – but too often opportunities to do good business and make a big social impact are missed.

“As we approach the local government elections on 3 May we’re calling on all political parties, election candidates and officials to seize the opportunity to develop their communities by prioritising community benefit in all contracts.

“As we take on the challenge of public service reform and preventative spending, social enterprises are the best vehicles to create more employment with those hardest to reach, to regenerate communities and to get better outcomes for everyone.”

Social Enterprise Scotland is an independent, Scottish, member-led organisation, built and controlled by grassroots social enterprises across the country.


Notes to Editors:

1. “New Ideas, New Innovations”, the 2012 local government manifesto for social enterprise can be downloaded here.

2. What is social enterprise? Social enterprises are businesses that trade specifically for social and/or environmental purposes. Social enterprises exist to make a profit just like any private sector business. However, instead of paying dividends to share holders, profits are reinvested into social and environmental purposes. Without making a profit, social enterprises cannot meet their objectives; they must trade, to be sustainable. The more profit made, the more can be invested in the purpose. This more-than-profit approach is used by, for example: Co-operatives and mutuals, Credit Unions, Housing Associations, Social Firms, Development Trusts and Community Interest Companies (CICs), operating in every corner of Scotland and in every sector of the economy.

3. What examples are there? Hebridean Chocolates (Stornoway), The Big Issue, Kibble (Paisley), The Engine Shed (Edinburgh), The Wise Group (Glasgow), Aberdeen Foyer, Bookdonors (Scottish Borders), Buchan Dial-a-Community Bus, Centre of Health and Wellbeing, Link Group Ltd (Edinburgh), Impact Arts, Skye Permaculture Ltd, Institute of Local Television, Media Co-op and North Glasgow Housing Association.

4. What is Social Enterprise Scotland? We are the national collective voice for social enterprise in Scotland. We bring together social enterprises and their supporters into a strong campaigning force for change, to represent the full range of social enterprises. We raise the profile of social enterprise as a dynamic business model, champion the values and benefits of social enterprise to a broad range of stakeholders and represent the needs and views of social enterprise to policy and decision-makers in Scotland. We are an independent and Scottish membership-led organisation. Membership is open to all social enterprises, their networks and intermediaries and supporters. www.socialenterprise.scot.