Natalie Williams
Social enterprises: thriving while doing good

Social enterprises are outperforming regular businesses on growth and impact, according to early findings from the latest State of Social Enterprise Survey.

Other preliminary findings reveal that 39% of social enterprises in the UK have expanded into new geographical areas and 83% have attracted new customers or clients in the last 12 months.

The State of Social Enterprise Survey is conducted annually by Social Enterprise UK, the national membership body for social enterprises, which they define on their website as: “[...] businesses that are changing the world for the better. Social enterprises are businesses that trade to tackle social problems, improve communities, people’s life chances, or the environment. They make their money from selling goods and services in the open market, but they reinvest their profits back into the business or the local community. And so when they profit, society profits.”

Initial findings from the annual survey were released in May 2015, with the full results due for publication later this year. Early indications from the 1,159 organisations analysed suggest that 59% of them developed new products and services in 2014, which more than 50% of the businesses younger than five years old.

Other fascinating results show that social enterprises vastly outperform regular businesses when it comes to diversity: 40% are led by women, compared to 18% among regular small businesses; 11% have leaders from a minority ethnic background, compared to just seven per cent.

Peter Holbrook CBE, chief executive of Social Enterprise UK, said: “Social enterprises are transforming the way business is done. What this data shows is that they are continuing to expand, to do good and to change the lives of individuals and communities. When it comes to female and minority ethnic leadership, they are miles ahead of the pack. Of course there are challenges, but from these initial findings the sector is clearly in a strong and healthy position.”

If you’re interested in finding out more about social enterprises, Jubilee+ can help. There are already a number of resources on our website, including advice on how to get started, Kate Welch (one of our directors) speaking on the key role of social enterprises at our national conference last year, and Jubilee+ leader Martin Charlesworth’s keynote address at our Doing Business, Doing Good conference in 2012.

Other resources are also on our website, and this year’s national Churches that Change Communities conference will once again feature a social enterprise seminar – the early-bird rate is still available and you can book your place here.

We would love to hear your social enterprise stories, so please drop us a line via the ‘submit a story’ page!