Scotland’s Social Enterprise Action Plan: 2021-2024

Working in collaboration with the sector, this 3 year Action Plan reasserts the Scottish Government’s long-term vision of social enterprise at the forefront of a new wave of ethical and socially responsible business in Scotland; far-reaching and becoming central to the way that Scotland chooses to do business.

Scotland’s Social Enterprise Action Plan: 2021-2024

Social Enterprise Net Zero Strategy

On the lead up to COP26 taking place in Glasgow in November 2021, CEIS and other partners have been supporting SEN Scotland in developing and launching a proposed strategy for the sector towards net zero.

Social Enterprise Net Zero Strategy

Social enterprise in Scotland: Census 2019

The report presents the findings of the Social Enterprise Census 2019, the third comprehensive account of social enterprise activity in Scotland. It focuses on the scale, reach and contribution of this activity as well as the characteristics, prospects and needs of those organisations that are delivering it. For further information, visit www.socialenterprisecensus.org.uk

Download the Key Facts
Download the Summary
Download the Full Report

Social enterprise in Scotland: Census 2017

This report presents the findings of the Social Enterprise Census 2017, the definitive biennial account of social enterprise activity in Scotland.

The Social Enterprise Census 2017 is a collaborative effort to track the changing scale, characteristics and contribution of Scotland’s social enterprise sector every two years over the course of the next decade. It builds on the 2015 baseline study, and forms part of the Scottish Government’s long-term commitment to realising the full potential of the sector.

Social Enterprise in Scotland: Census 2017

Building a Sustainable Social Enterprise Sector in Scotland: Action Plan 2017-20

Social enterprises trade for the common good. They address social needs, strengthen communities, improve people’s life chances and protect the environment. In December 2016, Scottish Government published Scotland’s Social Enterprise Strategy. This set out a wide-ranging, ambitious and long-term framework to help realise the full potential of the social enterprise sector. This action plan now sets out important first steps that the Government will take, working across government and with partners, to deliver on its vision for social enterprise over the next three years. Subsequent action plans will follow in 2020 and 2023.

Download the Action Plan – 2017-20

Internationalising Social Enterprise

Scotland has a long history of developing models of business for social good. Today, social enterprise continues to play a role in the economy and have a huge impact on communities all across Scotland. This document sets out the Scottish Government’s ambitions for international excellence, leadership and impact in the social enterprise field. Scottish Government have brought forward this strategy in partnership with Scottish Development International, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the British Council and representatives from the social enterprise movement in Scotland. This strategy describes the shared vision and collective commitment to internationalising social enterprise.

Download Internationalising Social Enterprise

Better Business

Scottish businesses must be motivated by more than the financial bottom line if they are to help build a fairer and greener Scotland.

That’s the conclusion of Better Business, a ground-breaking study published 19 January 2016 into responsible business practices in Scotland.

The study, the first of its kind in Scotland, was conducted by Social Value Lab and delivered in partnership with social enterprise development agency Firstport, CEIS, and the Scottish Business Awards. The project was supported by Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, CGI and Caledonian MacBrayne.

Download Better Business

Social enterprise strategy 2016:2026

This strategy sets out a wide-ranging, ambitious and long-term programme to develop the potential of Scotland’s social enterprise sector. It describes a clear path to stimulating social enterprise activity, developing stronger organisations, and realising market opportunity over a ten-year timeframe. It positions social enterprise as central to achieving our shared vision of a fair society and inclusive economy.

Social enterprise strategy 2016-2026

Social enterprise in Scotland: Census 2015

This full report, the first of its kind, is designed to inform our own business community, the public, media and policy makers, in order to grow and develop social enterprise across Scotland.

Please read and share the new report into the size, scale and scope of social enterprise in Scotland.

Social Enterprise in Scotland: Census 2015

Fish Climbing Trees – A Big Tree Global Production

The production demonstrates how social enterprises across the globe provide empowering and sustainable solutions to some of society’s most pressing problems like child slavery, poverty and the ticking time bomb that is the environment. Through the amazing work done by social entrepreneurs around the world, these businesses are changing the lives of millions by giving people a ‘hand up’, instead of a ‘hand out’.

The films portray stories and condensed learning from prominent social enterprises from different parts of the world, and sector experts such as Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.

Watch all three short films here

Social Enterprise in Glasgow 2015

This report conducted by Glasgow Social Enterprise Network (GSEN), a follow up to the first report in 2013, shows a continuous growth in the sector despite the challenging economic backdrop. It shows social enterprise is a key employment sector and economic contributor.

Download full report

Scotland’s Vision for Social Enterprise

A Paper from CEIS, Community Enterprise, Firstport, HISEZ, InspirAlba, Senscot, Social Enterprise Academy, Social Enterprise Scotland, and Social Firms Scotland.

We are pleased to present our vision of a larger, more vibrant, and more diverse social enterprise movement in Scotland.

We have prepared this document to build consensus within our social enterprise community about its future. We also intend to use its content to ensure that government policies, legislation, infrastructure and investment are effective, joined up and consistent with stated aspirations.

In preparing the document we have consulted directly with more than 400 people within the social enterprise community and listened to their ideas.

We want this to be the start of a wide-ranging and inclusive national dialogue on the role of social enterprise in a changing Scotland. We now welcome your views.

Download report

How can Big Data help social organisations?

This report ‘Big Data and social organisations’ produced by Duncan Ross for Nominet Trust (www.nominettrust.org.uk) describes how using Big Data can help social organisations with fundraising, development, policy and influence, community involvement to name but a few.

Download this report to find out more.

CEIS Ayrshire Impact Report 2013

This report describes the social impact created by CEIS Ayrshire through the delivery of its employability, training & skills development and employer engagement programmes and services.

View the report here.

Good Social Venture Incubation

A new report from Nesta on the rise of social venture incubation, with a focus on what can be learned by this burgeoning sector from programmes around the world.

Click here to download the report.

Profile of social enterprise in Glasgow

Glasgow Social Enterprise Network (GSEN) (www.gsen.org.uk) in partnership with Social Value Lab (www.socialvaluelab.org.uk) carried out an ambitious research project to understand the scale, characteristics and contribution of social enterprises in Glasgow.

Click here to download the report.


Below is a list of links that you may find useful

DSL Business Finance

DSL provide business start-up and growth loans for small businesses and social enterprises that can’t access funding from banks and other traditional sources.

For further information, visit www.dsl-businessfinance.co.uk

Glasgow Social Enterprise Network

GSEN is a membership network of Greater Glasgow social enterprise leaders who believe that social enterprise can transform the economic, environmental, social, and cultural life of Glasgow.

By supporting, promoting and developing social enterprise we aim to create an environment in Glasgow in which social enterprise is able to flourish.

For further information, visit www.gsen.org.uk

Highlands and Islands Social Enterprise Zone

HISEZ offer Business Support to new and existing Social Enterprises throughout the Highlands and Islands.

We are available to assist you at any time, either through the Scottish Government’s “Just Enterprise” contract or through direct consultancy work.  We also run great networking events and training courses throughout the area, so pick up the phone and talk to us.

For further information, visit www.hisez.co.uk


Kibble is Scotland’s national specialist provider of services for young people. One of Scotland’s oldest charities, and today a leading social enterprise, Kibble works with young people from 12 to 24 and offers a uniquely integrated array of services encompassing Intensive Residential Services, Day and Community Services, Secure Services, Full Educational Curriculum, Intensive Fostering, Integrated Transitions, Training and Employment.

For further information, visit www.kibble.org

Public Contracts Scotland

The Scottish Government’s objective is to deliver an electronic national contracts advertising portal which contains details of contract opportunities with Scottish Local Authorities, NHS Scotland, the Scottish Government; Agencies and Non Departmental Public Bodies, Higher and Further Education and the Emergency Services. In order to maintain a competitive environment and to support an open and transparent market environment, suppliers can access essential information via this portal on opportunities to offer services and bid for contracts for the supply of goods, works and services to the whole Public Sector in Scotland.

For further information, visit www.publiccontractscotland.gov.uk

Ready for Business

The Developing Markets for Third Sector Providers programme forms a key part of the Scottish Government support strategy for the Third Sector for the period 2011-2014.

Ready for Business is a third sector led consortium composed of Ready for Business LLP, KPMG, Social Value Lab and MacRoberts LLP.

The programme offers a unique opportunity to develop and embed a number of leading market development solutions, including Public Social Partnership (PSP) model, Community Benefit Clauses (CBC) and the use of Social Value throughout public sector commissioning and procurement in Scotland.

For further information, visit www.readyforbusiness.org


Senscot’s vision is of a socially just Scotland where social entrepreneurs and their initiatives are a valued part of everyday life. To achieve this, Senscot builds and services a network to help social entrepreneurs become more effective.

For further information, visit www.senscot.net

Social Enterprise Alliance

Social Enterprise Alliance (SEA) is the champion for social enterprise in the United States. Our aim is for social enterprise to reach its full potential as a force for positive social change, in service to the common good. To achieve this purpose, we provide social enterprises with the tools and resources they need to succeed, and work on building an optimal environment in which they can thrive.

For further information, visit www.se-alliance.org

Social Enterprise UK

Social Enterprises come in all sizes, from small community cafes to really big international organisations. Setting up a social enterprise – or changing an organisation from a charity, public sector or private business into a successful social enterprise can be a daunting, exhilarating and challenging experience.

Social Enterprise UK offer fee and paid for bespoke services and advice for social enterprises of all sizes.

For further information, visit www.socialenterprise.org.uk

Social Enterprise Scotland

Social Enterprise Scotland is The Voice of Social Enterprise – uniting social enterprises and their supporters into a strong campaigning force. We’re your gateway to Scotland’s social enterprise community.

Social Enterprise Scotland is an independent, Scottish, membership-led organisation, built and controlled by social enterprises. We’re the first point of contact for the media and public and promote a positive vision for social enterprise. Membership is open to anyone.

For further information, visit www.socialenterprisescotland.org.uk

Social Firms Scotland

Social Firms Scotland is the national support body for the development and promotion of Social Firms in Scotland.

We regard our website as a member of our team – here to help you learn more about Social Firms and how to develop and grow dynamic businesses that create jobs for severely disadvantaged people.

For further information, visit www.socialfirms.org.uk

Social Traders

Social Traders is a small nonprofit organisation established in 2008 to support and encourage the establishment of commercially viable social enterprises throughout Australia.

For further information, visit www.socialtraders.com.au

Social Value Lab

We work in Scotland, UK-wide and internationally – conducting research, demonstrating impact, developing new social ventures, and supporting others to do the same.

We produce evidence and ideas that help to make things work better… communities, organisations and services.

For further information, visit www.socialvaluelab.org.uk

Social Ventures Australia

Social Ventures Australia works with innovative partners to invest in social change.

We help to create better education and employment outcomes for disadvantaged Australians by bringing the best of business to the social sector, and by working with partners to strategically invest capital and expertise. SVA Consulting shares evidence and knowledge to build social sector capacity, while SVA Impact Investing introduces new capital and innovative financial models to help solve entrenched problems.

For further information, visit www.socialventures.com.au

Specialist People Foundation

The Specialist People Foundation works to enable one million jobs for people with autism and similar challenges through social entrepreneurship, corporate sector engagement and a global change in mind-set. We work with stakeholders around the world to bring about our vision of a world where people are given equal opportunities in the labor market.

For further information, visit www.specialistpeople.com

Supplier Development Programme

Welcome to the Supplier Development Programme (SDP), a local authority partnership programme established to offer small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) the opportunity to grow and diversify through procurement.

For further information, visit www.sdpscotland.co.uk



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