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A Wealth of Opportunity

Social Enterprises outperform mainstream businesses on almost all counts

Sep 16th 2015
Rob Wilson, Minister for Civil Society

Social Enterprises are outperforming their Small & Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) counterparts in nearly every area of business: turnover growth, workforce growth, job creation and innovation, according to new research.

The research, published by Social Enterprise UK, shows that the sector is confident, dynamic and at the forefront of economic recovery.

Social enterprises are achieving this economic performance while doing business differently: in a way that builds fairness, diversity and equality. The average pay ratio for the FTSE 100 of highest to lowest paid is 150:1; for social enterprises, it is 3.6:1. 40% of social enterprises are led by women, and 59% actively seek to employ those most disadvantaged from the labour market.

The research shows that social enterprise is also one of the most innovative and dynamic business movements in the UK. 35% of social enterprises have been established in the last three years, more than three times the proportion of SME start-ups. 59% have introduced a new product or service in the last 12 months, compared to 38% amongst SMEs. And they are operating globally as well as locally, with 14% now exporting internationally.

Peter Holbrook CBE, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK said:

“The findings of this year’s State of Social Enterprise show that in a time of public sector austerity and globally networked markets, social enterprises are providing real answers to the significant social and environmental problems we all face. They are demonstrating that it is possible to do business differently: creating economic growth and jobs whilst also operating fairly and helping those people and communities most in need. This report doesn’t shy away from the challenges social enterprises face but it does show a sector that is transforming how business can be done: business where everyone profits.”

Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson MP said:

“This report by Social Enterprise UK is proof that social enterprises continue to make a huge difference to thousands of people's lives and reflects the success of a growing, vibrant sector which delivers both on an economic and social level.  That's why the government is making it easier than ever for people to invest in social enterprises, helping us to build a truly compassionate society."

Click here to read the report in full

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