Scotland's world-leading commitment to social enterprise confirmed at the conference in Norway
“Scotland has the most comprehensive policy framework for social enterprise in the world. This has helped create a comprehensive and effective ecosystem of support for social enterprise that can be considered world-leading”, says Gerry Higgins, CEO of Community Enterprise in Scotland and Founder and Director of Social Enterprise World Forum.
"Social enterprise in Scotland is fortunate to operate within a uniquely supportive business environment. A political commitment to putting citizens first is now offering social enterprise a crucial role in the design and delivery of public services”, adds Fraser Kelly, member of the Supporting Social Enterprise Alliance which comprises Social Enterprise Scotland, Social Firms Scotland and Senscot.
This political commitment to social enterprise was further confirmed by the Finance and Sustainable Growth Secretary in the Scottish government, John Swinney, at the Ferd conference on Social Entrepreneurship held in Oslo, Norway, at the beginning of February.
“We believe that an enterprising third sector is a vital partner in our economy, in civic society and in the creation of a fairer and more inclusive Scotland. That is why we have invested heavily to help the sector develop – but it’s not just about money – it’s about support at every level. We need to ensure strategy, policy, legislation, infrastructure and direct investment is joined up and makes sense. It’s this holistic support for social enterprise and the third sector at every level that is distinctive about our approach – and that is delivering real results here in Scotland”, said Mr Swinney.
He quoted the findings of a recent survey saying that there are 509 social enterprises in Glasgow alone, with a combined annual income of £767 million, and between 3,000 and 4,000 social enterprises in Scotland, with the sector still growing.
At the conference Mr Swinney underlined the importance of co-operation with Norway in building a strong social enterprise sector and added that in particular such areas as the Norwegian progressive approach to childcare were to serve as an inspiring model. Karin Lindgard, Deputy Director of Husbanken East, the Norwegian State Housing Bank, said that collaboration between the two countries could be particularly fruitful regarding the potential of social enterprise in the housing sector.