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Social enterprises

Social enterprises are businesses with a social or environmental purpose and whose profits are re-invested into fulfilling their mission.

We want to support Scotland's social enterprises because they are an example of what inclusive growth can look like – they can help to improve people's wellbeing, reduce inequality and help grow the economy.

We help social enterprises to network, develop, collaborate and grow by working with:

  • Social Enterprise Scotland, an independent membership organisation that promotes and campaigns on behalf of all social enterprises in Scotland
  • Social Firms Scotland, the national support body for social enterprises whose social mission is to create opportunities for people disadvantaged in the labour market
  • Senscot an organisation that supports local and national networks for social entrepreneurs
  • Social Enterprise Academy, which delivers the Social Enterprise in Education programme and delivers learning and development to the third sector

We also directly fund:

  • the Just Enterprise programme, which provides tailored business support to social enterprises and entrepreneurs (£4.8 million from 2014 to 2017)
  • the Developing Markets for Third Sector Providers programme, through which the Ready for Business consortium provides support for public social partnerships (PSPs) and the implementation and use of Community Benefit Clauses (£2.8 million from 2014 to 2016)
  • the Social Growth Fund delivered by Social Investment Scotland (SIS) which offers access to loans for social enterprises (we have allowed SIS to use £8 million in repayments from 2014 to 2016 to loans from the Scottish Investment Fund)

Supported Businesses

Supported Businesses are social enterprises whose main aim is to integrate disabled or disadvantaged people socially and professionally.

Their workforce must be at least 30% disabled or disadvantaged, as specified in EU Directive 2014/24/EU.

It is Scottish Government policy that every public body should have at least one contract with a Supported Business, and we encourage private sector companies to buy goods and services from them too.

Documentation includes: