Social enterprises generate £2.7 billion to plough back into society



Figures from the RBS SE100 Index show that social enterprise is gathering pace in the UK, with some areas experiencing huge growth.

A total £11.3 billion turnover was posted by 1,061 social enterprises in the past year. These organisations generated £2.7 billion in profits to plough back into society and the economy.

The whole sector grew by 82% this year, a huge improvement compared to the 24% recorded last year. The top 100 organisations in terms of growth posted an average year-on-year increase of 784%.

Tim West, co-founder of the RBS SE100 Index, said, “One certainty shines through: social ventures across the UK are generating revenues and profits on a significant scale uncharted until now – the ripples from this new way of combining business thinking and social mission are surely now turning to waves in society and the economy at large.”

The SE100 annual report also pointed out that traditional accounting profits don’t quantify the added value social enterprise creates. The report stated, “This mean that the ‘true’ profit could be much higher.

Professor Simon Denny, director of enterprise, development and social impact at the University of Northampton, commented, “The data clearly shows that the social enterprise sector is an increasingly important part of the UK’s new mixed economic model.

“The old way of dividing organisations into public or private is no longer valid; we cannot ignore a sector with a turnover in excess of £11 billion.”

Three social enterprises ranked on SE100 have also been recognised as the top-performing mission led businesses, each business was scored on its growth and social impact.

Right Track, which won the growth champion award, works with young people and adults who struggle to find work, in the last year their turnover has grown by 146%.

Stuart Bell, CEO of the organisation said, “I want to show that social enterprises can compete with the big boys in a commercial world. Don’t let them pigeonhole us as just do-gooders. We are commercial people and we can deliver a better service at a good price.”

The impact champion award was won by P3, an organisation that has worked for 30 years to overcome the challenges that the public sector can no longer tackle alone.  Patchwork People, which aims to help young people develop talents and confidence, took home the trailblazing newcomer award. 

Further reading:

Triodos survey says 3m may consider social investment in next year

‘Positive’ investment worth £1.6bn in the UK

Social investment tax rules must not exclude social enterprises, says SEUK

Third sector urged to up its came to capitalise on new social investment measures

UBS: China can make ‘generational leap’ in responsible investment


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