Politicians from each of the major parties will come together to launch the UK’s first Social Saturday in a reception at the House of Commons on Wednesday.
Social Saturday, a nationwide event that will take place on September 13, will work to raise awareness of social enterprises and encourage British consumers to use their spending power to support them.
Social enterprises are businesses that trade with a mission to tackle issues like poverty, unemployment or environmental destruction. They reinvest their profits to achieve social good.
A 2013 industry survey from Social Enterprise UK revealed that public support for the concept of social enterprise is high. However, it also found that many people are not aware of their existence, even though around 70,000 social enterprises are operating in Britain today.
To change this, the national trade body will lead Social Saturday later this year, with the help of the Cabinet Office and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
At this evening’s event, cross-party speakers including business minister Jo Swinson and shadow cabinet minister Chi Onwurah will appeal to MPs to get behind the event, and encourage their constituents to “buy social”.
Ahead of the reception, business minister Jo Swinson said, “What we all want to see are businesses acting as a force for good, creating jobs and helping build a stronger, more sustainable economy.
“Social enterprises take this a step further by reinvesting their profits for the good of society. That is why I wholeheartedly support this year’s Social Saturday. It’s a great opportunity for all of us to become more aware of how our spending can make a real difference.”
The Social Economy Alliance (SEA), a campaign group made up of 450 organisations operating in the social enterprise and co-operative sectors, has also launched its own awareness campaign.
In a crowdfunded lobbying campaign aimed at MPs, the SEA plans to plaster Westminster station in London with billboards and posters to highlight the importance of the social economy ahead of the 2015 general election.
The latest figures from the Royal Bank of Scotland’s SE100 index, which tracks the financial, social and environmental performance of social enterprises, found that members raised £2.9 billion last year for a vast range of worthy causes.
Photo: 401(K) 2012 via Flickr