Strong year for Scottish social enterprises

Strong year for Scottish social enterprises

Scottish social enterprises turned over a total of £451m last year, according to the latest research by NatWest.

Now in its sixth year, the NatWest SE100 tracks the growth and performance of the UK’s social enterprises.

The report shows Scottish enterprises recorded an average growth in turnover of 62% and a total combined turnover of £451.1m throughout the year.

John Swinney, deputy first minister of Scotland, said: “The Natwest SE100 helps social enterprises within the third sector to continually improve, learning from their peers and working together in a growing community of like-minded socially and environmentally responsible organisations.

“I welcome this report and the information it contains about the continuing success of Scottish social enterprises. 

“Social enterprise is a growing and increasingly significant part of our economic and social landscape - playing a vital role in tackling social problems, strengthening communities and protecting the environment.” 

Mark Parsons, head of community finance and social enterprise at NatWest, added: "This report shows that social enterprises across the country are generating significant profits whilst having a powerful impact on their communities.

“The 80% average growth in turnover in the sector across the UK is hugely impressive, while the performance of the top 100 in the Index shows that there are some incredible high-growth social businesses out there - transforming economies and lives at the same time.”


An example to follow...

Venture Mòr, a social enterprise working to get disadvantaged young adults into work through employability training delivered in the Scottish wilderness, has been recognised as a leading social enterprise in the report.

Venture Mòr is an example of a successful social enterprise growing steadily and making a big impact having experienced a 685% growth in turnover.

Trading since 2013, Venture Mòr organises adventure holidays, retreats, charity challenges, Duke of Edinburgh and school activity weeks across the Scottish Highlands, and operates a 4* hostel to fund the work of its parent company, Venture Trust.

The company supports disadvantaged adults often suffering with homelessness, addiction, offending, and isolation, to make positive life changes. Through the Venture Trust wilderness programmes, a high percentage of these people achieve greater stability and confidence resulting in employment, education, training or volunteering.

Commenting on their recent growth, Amelia Morgan, head of development at Venture Mòr, said: “There are a number of key drivers for growth but most importantly, we recognise that we must offer a high quality service, above and beyond our social credentials.

“We focus on our customers and how we can ensure that their experience with us is fantastic, so much so that they can’t wait to come back.

"The fact that we’re a social enterprise and backed by Venture Trust is definitely a positive and genuinely appeals to people.”

She added: “We also invested in marketing the business through social media, being present on partner websites and developing our own website.”

Commenting on the strength of the social enterprise sector in Scotland, Amelia said: “Since Venture Mòr was founded, we have noticed a significant change in the range of social enterprises trading, and crucially the increased support from the Scottish Government, business development and leadership programmes to assist social enterprises to start up, trade sustainably and grow and move the sector forward.”