quick facts and figures
South East Facts:
- According to Government data, in 2008, there were approximately 10,000 organisations in the South East, which showed the key characteristics of having social ownership, trading income and having social aims.
- According to the SEEDA Regional Economic Strategy (RES), in order to achieve higher levels of prosperity per head across the South East, without increasing the region's ecological footprint, the focus has to be on delivering higher productivity by bringing more of the resident population into economic activity. This can be achieved by focusing on the principles of smart growth, raising levels of enterprise, productivity and economic activity throughout the region.
- Around 80% of the region's land mass is rural which accommodates a third of its business base and a quarter of its population. According to the SEEDA RES, an investment in physical and community infrastructure will be needed to ensure that rural communities remain places where people both live and work.
- The Coastal South East is characterised by unique environmental assets and a string of distinctive coastal cities and towns, yet it is an area which has seen continued economic and social decline. To tackle this, SEEDA aims to invest in the potential of individuals and areas to lift underperformance by harnessing a range of opportunities including skills progression, innovation and creativity, economic upgrading and culture and leisure-based growth.
- The SEEDA RES recognises that there is huge growth potential in the South East for social enterprise and niche businesses serving diverse communities. A key target of the RES is to raise economic activity; promote social enterprise to support employment and skills development and encourage entrepreneurial behaviour among the most excluded groups which will help to remove barriers and re-engage individuals with employment opportunities, which in turn will help reduce pressure on the labour market.
- The se² partnership seeks to support many of the RES priorities and, in particular, the following under ‘Smart Growth':
• to build sustainability and corporate social responsibility into everyday business practice
• to stimulate increased levels of enterprise among under-represented groups - this action recognises that increased support for social enterprise will play a major role in reaching these groups
• to improve business support available to help SME's and social enterprises to tender for contracts - this action focuses on encouraging small firms to co-ordinate their efforts to tender successfully for contracts in order to retain the economic benefits within the region
- Social Enterprises in the South East - if they can access the right tools, advice and support - therefore have tremendous potential to add value to social change and take advantage of the possibilities.
- Government data (the Annual Survey of Small Businesses UK 2005-2007) estimates that there are approximately 62,000 social enterprises in the UK contributing at least £24bn to the economy.
- Social enterprises are estimated to employ 800,000 people.
- The State of Social Enterprise Survey, released November 2009 found that despite the recession, social enterprises are twice as confident of future growth as typical small to medium enterprises (SMEs), with 48% of social enterprises responding positively as opposed to just 24% of SMEs.
- Additionally, since the economic downturn began, 56% have increased their turnover from the previous year whilst less than 20% have seen it go down. This is a considerably better performance than SMEs in the UK, where only 28% increased their turnover and 43% saw it go down.
- The survey also found that social enterprises challenge the glass ceiling: 26% of social enterprises could be described as ‘women-led' - almost twice as many compared to small businesses (26% compared to 14%). Furthermore, 41.1% of all board members are women, compared to just 11.7% of board members in FTSE 100 companies and 4.9% in AIM-listed companies.
- The social enterprise movement is inclusive and extremely diverse, encompassing organisations such as development trusts, community enterprises, co-operatives, housing associations, social firms and leisure trusts, among others.
- Social enterprise is a business model which offers the prospect of a greater equity of economic power and a more sustainable society - by combining market efficiency with social and environmental justice.
- A YouGov poll released in 2007 found that over 60% of the British public would prefer their local services to be run by a social enterprise - instead of the government, private profit businesses or traditional charity.
- That same survey polled 2,000 people and asked them what kind of company they would like to work for. A clear majority, 30%, picked social enterprise, with only 16% of respondents saying they would like to work for a traditional business, 13% choosing a government institution and 13% a traditional charity.
- According to a DTI survey in 2005, health and social care services is the largest category of trading activity for social enterprises
- 7 out of 10 people say that they would "prefer to by from firms who put their profits back into the community, rather than into the pockets of shareholders" - (www.rise-sw.co.uk/uploads/published_report_Social_Enterprise_Mark_research.pdf)
- Other research released by Delta Economics in July 2008 found that almost 1.3 million people consider themselves to be social entrepreneurs, representing a significant part of the UK's labour force. 35% of all entrepreneurs who have been involved in start-up activity for less than three months in the UK are social entrepreneurs.
- The Social Enterprise Mark is a label which tells customers that a product or service comes from a social enterprise and is creating a social or environmental benefit - (www.socialenterprisemark.co.uk)
- The pioneers of social enterprise can be traced back to the 1840s in Rochdale, where a workers' co-operative was set up to provide high quality, but affordable food
- Over 8 out of 10 public sector commissioners of services would prefer to buy from a bidder with a public service ethos (assuming other contract requirements were met) - (www.rise-sw.co.uk/uploads/published_report_Social_Enterprise_Mark_research.pdf)
- The All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Enterprise was founded in 2003 by Baroness Thornton and currently has a membership of 93 MPs and Peers from across the 3 main parties - (www.appgsocialenterprise.org.uk/pages/appg.html)
- The Department for Health's Social Enterprise Investment Fund has helped more than 150 social enterprises by investing over £20 million since it launched in 2007. There is more than £70 million available for start-up and existing social enterprises over the next three years - (www.socialinvestmentbusiness.org)
- The RBS SE100 Index - open to social enterprises - will award prizes worth a total of up to £50,000 to social enterprises deomstrating high growth and outstanding social impact in March 2010 - (www.se100.co.uk/rbs-prizes.php)
- The UK government has been described as the most advanced policy-making body globally, and social entrepreneurship is now embedded within diverse UK government departments. US President Obama is also a supporter of social enterprise and recently announced two policy initiatives, promising to create a Social Entrepreneurship Agency, and proposing US $3.5billion a year for social investment.