Scotland’s Commitment to Social Enterprises


The Scottish Government’s Social Enterprise Strategy states its commitment to developing the potential of Scotland’s social enterprise sector. The Strategy sets out an ambitious plan to support the development of the sector. It positions social enterprise as central to achieving a vision of a fair society and an inclusive economy.

The social enterprise sector is an important part of business and community life with over 5,000 social enterprises now operating in Scotland. Most are fairly modest in size, with three-in-five producing an annual turnover of less than £100,000. Last year, social enterprises collectively generated £1.1bn from trading. Furthermore, they generate a total income of £3.36bn, have a net worth of £3.86bn, employ 112,409 people and deliver a GVA of £1.68bn to the Scottish economy.

Social enterprises contribute to each of the four priorities set out in Scotland’s Economic Strategy  - Investment, Innovation, Inclusive Growth, and Internationalisation. Investment in social enterprises can make sure that more parts of the economy are benefitting from economic growth through the creation of feasible business opportunities in undeserved markets.

Community and co-operative enterprises are already playing a key role in community-led regeneration. They support the vision first set out in Scotland’s Regeneration Strategy. By supporting more locally controlled enterprises, the Scottish Government can allow communities to take on the ownership of viable physical assets, help to organise and respond to challenges in places where capacity is currently low, and create sustainable community organisations that can lead to long term regeneration.

The Scottish Government’s international ambitions, as outlined in Scotland’s Economic Strategy and International Framework will be part of its commitment to social enterprise. The Scottish Government is planning on strengthening Scotland’s place and standing in the world.

The Scottish Government aims to make Scotland a world-leading entrepreneurial and innovative nation and social enterprises are part of that picture.  In addition, high quality, reliable public services are essential to a fair and prosperous society. The Scottish Government will work with the social enterprise community to support the delivery of person-centred services that Scottish citizens can rely on.


1 Scotland’s social enterprise strategy, Scottish Government, 2016

2 ibid

3 ibid