Resource description, files and detail

3rd Meeting of Cross-Party Group on Social Enterprise, Tue 19 June 2012 – Scotland’s social enterprise policy forum

Posted: 12 June 2012

Doc Type(s): About Social Enterprise Scotland

The Cross-Party Group on Social Enterprise in The Scottish Parliament is Scotland’s social enterprise policy forum. You can now see the agenda and report for this meeting below. Keynote speakers are from most of the main business support organisations.

You can see details of the Purpose of the group, MSP involvement and the external member list etc. on The Scottish Parliament website here.

What are Cross-Party Groups in The Scottish Parliament? Cross-Party Groups (CPGs) provide an opportunity for Members of all parties, outside organisations and members of the public to meet and discuss a shared interest in a particular cause or subject.

3rd meeting of Scotland’s Cross-Party Group on Social Enterprise in The Scottish Parliament

Scotland’s policy forum for social enterprise

Tuesday 19 June, 13:00 – 14:30

(external guests please arrive at 12.45 at the latest to get through security)

Committee Room 3, The Scottish Parliament

The theme of this meeting is business support for social enterprise and all key social enterprise business support agencies will join us for the debate, plus The Scottish Government. External guests please make all free bookings through the website here, MSPs and staff please inform the Office of Chic Brodie MSP. Details of purpose/membership of the group here. 


12:45 Arrival at The Scottish Parliament (external guests please arrive at 12.45 at the latest to get through security and to be taken to the relevant room. Please note new later start time due to parliamentary business). 

13:00 Networking and light lunch provided.

13:15 Introduction by Convener, Chic Brodie MSP.

13:25 The purpose and outcomes of the group – one person requested further discussion on the purpose, any further suggested changes in addition to below? How do we make it an outcomes-based group? e.g. themes based on some of the policy coming from the Scottish Government and Parliament, all reports sent directly to Ministers/officials/local government contacts with a covering note. Perhaps an ‘annual report’. Any other ways to produce outcomes?

13:35 Brief presentations by each of the key sector support organisations: Anne Black (Third Sector Division, The Scottish Government), John Hughes/Douglas Westwater (Just Enterprise), Sandy Watson (Scottish Enterprise inc. Co-operative Development Scotland), Anne MacDonald (Highlands and Islands Enterprise).

13:55 Panel discussion with speakers and guests.

14:30 Meeting ends.

If you need a contact or information after the event please email: duncan.thorp@socialenterprise.scot.

The purpose/proposed purpose of this group is:

  • To open up a new policy discussion about social enterprise business innovation, creativity and fresh ideas in Scotland
  • To directly feed into the policy making processes of The Scottish Government, MSPs and Parliament, political parties and local authorities
  • To promote the growth and success of social enterprises across Scotland
  • To help raise awareness and understanding among MSPs, public and media
  • To promote the role of social enterprises in designing and delivering public services and in regeneration
  • To help open private sector business and finance opportunities to social enterprises
  • To demonstrate the wide-ranging social and economic impacts of social enterprise in Scotland

Founder MSPs

Chic Brodie MSP (Scottish National Party) – Convener

Patrick Harvie MSP (Scottish Greens) – Vice Convener

Gavin Brown MSP (Scottish Conservatives)

John Park MSP (Scottish Labour)

Tavish Scott MSP (Scottish Liberal Democrats)


Report from 3rd Cross-Party Group on Social Enterprise in The Scottish Parliament meeting.

The theme of this meeting was “Business support for social enterprise”. The report below summarises the main points of the discussion.

Tuesday 19 June 2012

Chaired By Chic Brodie MSP

1 The group agreed the proposed changes to the “Purpose” of the group should be approved, with no further changes.

2 Each of the 4 speakers gave brief presentations on who they are, what their organisation does and how they work with and for social enterprises.

3 Questions and a debate with the group followed the presentations:

Chic Brodie MSP: What about non-traditional sources of funding?

Anne MacDonald (Highlands and Islands Enterprise): High net worth individuals. Can be a long process. We have worked with SCDI and RBS in this regard.

Gavin Brown MSP: Is there no fixed criteria for support at Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise for social enterprises? Or should they go to Business Gateway?

Sandy Watson (Scottish Enterprise inc. Co-operative Development Scotland): A criteria for business support but not the same as Highlands and Islands Enterprise. In terms of businesses that demonstrate capacity for growth and in key sectors. We will look to those that are most important to the economy.

Anne MacDonald (Highlands and Islands Enterprise): Criteria around ‘fragile areas’ and start-ups. We do signpost to Just Enterprise and also Business Gateway.

Malcolm McArdle (Managing Director, Alloa Community Enterprises and ACE Recycling Group): Been involved with social enterprise and also traditional business for years – confusion and diminution of delivery always comes back to money – we are still lacking a single point of support, though progress has been made. Issue with enthusiasm and “too many opportunities and ideas”. The Third Sector Interface can help to an extent. Example of Alva swimming pool that is good but under threat, issue of scale and sustainability to take things forward. Accept that some never achieve sustainability and funding will always be required.

Chic Brodie MSP: Social investment and funding – Scotland not historically good at risk-taking in this regard.

Lucy Haughey (Director, The PlanB Partnership): Regulated financial advice not available in the Third Sector. This is needed and essential – not talked about, including issues such as insolvency advice and free financial advice etc.

Sandy Watson (Scottish Enterprise inc. Co-operative Development Scotland): We are seeing organisations becoming more business-like, legal and financial advice is essential. Some organisations don’t realise that they need this. Costs also a big issue. Senscot Legal is a good example.

Chic Brodie MSP: Tom Hunter and ‘new ways’ to do business, new business models, getting on board with ‘traditional’ businesses, absolutely need legal and financial advice.

Emma Galloway (Chief Executive, Grassmarket Community Project): Edinburgh Social Enterprise Network fund specialist business support – fills gaps in other provision. Provided legal and property advice, VAT advice. There’s a danger that business support for social enterprises becomes an “industry” making money. Also what do you do to make sure that your support is what social enterprise want and need?

John Hughes (CEiS/Just Enterprise): Just Enterprise was set up after Scottish Government research to ask what was needed – and 10 social enterprises are the ones delivering the programme itself. It was created after an open tender process.

Emma Galloway (Chief Executive, Grassmarket Community Project): What about the people not going to Just Enterprise?

John Hughes (CEiS/Just Enterprise): Just Enterprise is open to all ‘enterprising third sector organisations’, not just social enterprises. They can also refer to Third Sector Interfaces and Social Enterprise Networks (SENs), particularly for those not reaching a trading income level.

Chic Brodie MSP: Communication between the different agencies?

Laurie Russell (Chair, Social Enterprise Scotland): Yes there is now better communication but we have a very diverse sector, lots of sizes and models. The Scottish Government gives a good level of support for the sector. Glad the debate today is about support not finance. There are too many projects not up to scratch and won’t attract funding, not enough mention of ‘quality’ to provide a better service and more impact – we need to be more business-like. Business support for the sector is only about 5 years old – good but could be better.

Chic Brodie MSP: Tom Hunter at the Business in the Parliament event talked about the “new entrepreneurial enlightenment”. Are we cross-communicating enough?

Doreen Walkinshaw (Enable Scotland): Private sector engagement. Just setting up first social enterprise – catering. Most support so far from the private sector. Mutual learning and also fulfilling their CSR activity. We have a healthy mix of business support in Scotland.

Anne MacDonald (Highlands and Islands Enterprise): Yes, better relationship with private sector now. Partnership work with local Chambers of Commerce.

Sandy Watson (Scottish Enterprise inc. Co-operative Development Scotland): Private sector needs to know what third sector is doing. Lots of consultation was done with social enterprises before Just Enterprise was launched – very thorough process.

Douglas Westwater (Community Enterprise/Just Enterprise): Sometimes people seek too much support – when they can just get on with it. Don’t hear that there is confusion – no one has “too much support”. The key is to get the local match and support at the right level.

Shona Sinclair (SKS Scotland CIC): Launch of new co-op last week. We are happy to work with the private sector so long as the outcome is right. There needs to be no defensive or negative reaction from the third sector.

Sandy Watson (Scottish Enterprise inc. Co-operative Development Scotland): Negativity about the private sector. You don’t have to ‘become’ to engage, there is a fear.

Norman Chipakupaku (Social Economy & African Development (SEAD UK)): Do Business Gateway advisers understand what social enterprise is? No they don’t.

Chic Brodie MSP: The Business Gateway contracts are up for renewal now.

Angus MacDonald MSP: The recent report highlighted the issue of addressing this gap. It’s been a local issue in Falkirk – the council are transferring it in-house now. There was an emphasis on the need to tailor support by the Gateway.

Sandy Watson (Scottish Enterprise inc. Co-operative Development Scotland): Most Business Gateways over the years have been social enterprises themselves! The contracts have not excluded social enterprises but local managers just shifted and drifted locally in some places – Scottish Enterprise has tried to get it on the agenda. The third sector have a right to access and should in fact demand support from the Business Gateway.

Steve McCreadie (Head of Business Development, Aberlour): First time here. We are an account managed organisation. It has not just supported – but stretched our thinking. There is a confidence and resilience in the sector and new thinking in terms of business models.

Rebecca McKinney (Social Enterprise Alliance Midlothian (SEAM)/Midlothian Council): Hurdles and regulation locally e.g. Business Gateway underestimating the complexity and challenge of setting up a social enterprise. How do you clear these hurdles? We need to discuss the local level and business support by councils – valuable contacts for social enterprises in councils. The important role of the Social Enterprise Networks (SENs) and SEAM.

Chic Brodie MSP: There are opportunities with the new Scottish Government Sustainable Procurement Bill.

Sarah Deas (Chief Executive, Co-Operative Development Scotland): Most social enterprises are local. But how do you stretch thinking beyond the local? Need more franchising and collaborations between social enterprises. We have the ingredients – but how do we do more?


Business support agency key contacts

Just Enterprise


0141 425 2939

Cooperative Development Scotland


0141 951 3055

Business Gateway


0845 609 6611

Scottish Enterprise


0845 607 8787

Highlands and Islands Enterprise


01463 234171


External organisation members

Social Enterprise Scotland


Social Firms Scotland

Social Investment Scotland

MacRoberts LLP

Centre of Health and Wellbeing

Sikh Sanjog

Buchan Dial-a-Community Bus/ DAB Plus c.i.c

Community Enterprise

Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE)

Alloa Community Enterprises

PlanB Money & Debt Advice Support Services

Health Inequalities Alliance Ltd

Association of British Credit Unions Limited (ABCUL)

Community Growing Solutions CiC

Co-operative Development Scotland

Kibble Education and Care Centre

Scottish Sports Association

Scottish Borders Social Enterprise Chamber

Impact Arts

Media Co-op

Development Trusts Association Scotland (DTAS)

Scottish Enterprise

Furniture Plus

Link Group Ltd