First ever strategy for sector

Fund boosted to help social enterprise

Alastair DavisEntrepreneurs wanting to launch a social enterprise can access a £140,000 fund set up by the Scottish Government.

Communities and Equalities Secretary Angela Constance, publishing Scotland’s first ever Social Enterprise Strategy,  announced an expansion to the Social Entrepreneurs Fund during a visit to the Grassmarket project in Edinburgh.

The strategy has been developed with the social enterprise sector and local government, and will help local communities who want to start their own enterprise as well as continue to support and grow those already operating.

It will also increase the number of disabled social entrepreneurs and look at ways to enable social enterprises to employ more disabled people, including the use of targeted wage incentives.

Ms Constance said: “Social enterprises have fantastic potential in terms of economic benefit, currently contributing £1.68 billion to our economy and providing employment opportunities. We want to release that potential and allow them to thrive.”

In a joint statement, Pauline Graham, CEO of Social Firms Scotland, Aidan Pia, Executive Director of Senscot and Fraser Kelly, Chief Executive, Social Enterprise Scotland, said: “Scotland is a recognised world leader in social enterprise support and development. The journey towards the launch of this ambitious strategy has been both rewarding and challenging.

“Our social enterprise community, stretching across every area of urban and rural Scotland, is diverse. This new strategy sets out a clear, powerful and inclusive vision for the growth of social enterprise over the next decade and beyond.”

Alastair Davis (pictured), chief executive of Social Investment Scotland, said: “The Scottish Government’s social enterprise strategy is a huge step in the right direction.

“For many years we’ve talked about the potential of social enterprise in a country which rightly prides itself on a long history of doing business in a fair and sustainable way. We now have the political ambition and drive to fulfil this potential.

“To achieve the ten year vision set out in this strategy will take a huge amount of hard work from everyone involved in the social enterprise sector. Key to its success will be our ability as a sector to meet the growing consumer demand for socially responsible products and services, ranging from ethically-sourced clothes to socially conscious restaurants.

“For our part, SIS will continue to focus on educating and prepare social enterprise to take on finance, but also to continue to grow the availability of that finance.

“Recent initiatives such as the introduction of Social Investment Tax Relief have helped to open up social investment to a wider pool of investors, and we’ll need to continue innovating with new forms of funding if the sector is to continue expanding.”

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