The 'state of social enterprise' is a series of surveys commissioned by the British Council and based on methodology developed for our Global Social Enterprise programme with Social Enterprise UK. The research for each survey has been undertaken by the British Council in partnership with both international and local partners. The surveys aim to provide a summary of the current size, scale and scope of the social enterprise sector in different countries and regions around the world.

We then drew on the data, insights and case studies from these 27 national / regional surveys to produce More in Common: The global state of social enterprise, the first study to provide a genuinely global picture of social enterprise 

You will find the global and national/regional surveys below. 



This 2015 handbook provides a comprehensive introduction to the UK’s thriving social enterprise sector. Packed with illuminating examples and useful links, this rich resource covers everything from ownership structures to impact measurement and from funding mechanisms to government support.  General readers and insiders alike will find it authoritative, engaging and clear. 

Social enterprise in the UK (Adobe PDF 1.97MB)


Social enterprises are on the rise in Algeria, particularly during the last three years, but their growth builds on deeply rooted traditions of co-operation and mutualism and has benefited, more recently, from EU-funded development programmes. This survey finds that social enterprises are active in a range of areas, ranging from arts and crafts to food and nutrition, and from clean technology to tourism and education. They seek support in a range of areas, notably access to finance, legal support and access to markets.

The state of social enterprise in Algeria (Adobe PDF 3MB)


This landmark, four-country survey, the first in our series, provides a rich and fascinating trove of data on social enterprises in Bangladesh, Ghana, India and Pakistan, including about their operations, turnover, impact, beneficiaries, challenges and number. It offers important quantitative information that will help to fill our knowledge gap about social enterprise in countries that together comprise a fifth of humanity.

The state of social enterprise in Bangladesh, Ghana, India and Pakistan


This 2013 survey examines the social enterprise landscape in Burma (Myanmar) just as democracy was being restored after decades of military rule. The report notes that the country has a strong civil society and provides examples of successful social enterprises operating at scale but also that social enterprise was then a relatively new, if increasingly popular, concept

Social enterprise landscape in Myanmar


This survey finds that social enterprise is experiencing dynamic growth in Ethiopia, where 75 per cent of social enterprises were established since 2010 and most expect to expand in coming years. Produced as part of a project with the EU, the survey indicates that the sector is providing significant employment and leadership opportunities for young people and women in Africa’s second most populous country. 

The state of social enterprise in Ethiopia (Adobe PDF 4.43MB)


Cooperatives, social enterprises and other organisations in the social and solidarity economy are helping to tackle some of Greece’s most significant challenges, such as poverty and unemployment, and providing support for the elderly, people with disabilities and marginalised populations, this survey finds.

Greece social and solidarity economy report (Adobe PDF 345KB)


The sector is growing rapidly in Hong Kong, where 49 per cent of all social enterprises were founded in the past five years. They address a range of needs, from support for the elderly and health and wellness activities, to the development of solutions to waste and recycling. This in-depth research offers insights into the social enterprises and the entrepreneurs that lead them, together with the barriers they face, and recommendations for supporting their growth.

The state of social enterprise in Hong Kong (Adobe PDF 7MB)


Social enterprise is growing rapidly in the world’s fourth most populous country, generating employment, supporting communities, and addressing inequalities. Among the survey’s many noteworthy findings are that there is gender parity in the leadership of social enterprises and that their top sector of business activity is the creative industries. 

The state of social enterprise in Indonesia (Adobe PDF 6.68MB)


Jamaican social enterprises have high potential to help revitalise communities hard-hit by poverty and crime, generating social benefits beyond the trade, income, and jobs they create, notably in supporting vulnerable children and young people. The sector is young, growing and financially viable and Jamaican social enterprises are, on the whole, optimistic about the future. 

The state of social enterprise in Jamaica (Adobe PDF 3.22MB)


In Kenya, where the youth unemployment rate is 25 per cent, 65 per cent of all social enterprises seek to create employment and the sector provides significant leadership opportunities for young people and women. Moreover, one in ten Kenyan social enterprise operates internationally. Download our survey for more findings and analysis. 

The state of social enterprise in Kenya (Adobe PDF 6.67MB)


The State of Social Enterprise in Malaysia provides a rich and useful overview of the size, scale, and scope of the social enterprise sector in Malaysia, which is growing rapidly, delivering impact for a range of beneficiaries, and attracting government support, but faces challenges in areas such as public awareness and access to funding.

The state of social enterprise in Malaysia (Adobe PDF 3.8MB)


The ecosystem for social entrepreneurship grew substantially in the five years between this 2019 survey and our first study in 2014. Moroccan social enterprises are predominantly led by young, highly educated entrepreneurs from urban areas who are primarily seeking to create employment opportunities and improve local communities. The challenges they face include access to finance and lack of expert business support, and the report recommends increasing the provision of technical, financial and policy support to social entrepreneurs and devising strategies to facilitate access to wider markets.

Social enterprise landscape in Morocco (Adobe PDF 4MB)


The social enterprise landscape is burgeoning in Nigeria. This study estimates that there may be 443,000 social enterprises operating in Africa’s most populous country, of which 43 per cent have been set up since 2018. Social enterprises are providing innovative solutions to social challenges in sectors ranging from skills and education to agriculture and social care, and support many beneficiaries, including young people facing difficulties, poor people, and the unemployed. Among the challenges for social enterprises in Nigeria are the impact of Covid-19, a lack of awareness of social enterprise, and a lack of support in connecting to funders.

The state of social enterprise in Nigeria (Adobe PDF 4MB)


This 2016 study provides an overview of Pakistan’s emerging but rapidly growing social enterprise sector. It reviews the policy and regulatory environment in which social enterprises operate, their approaches to addressing needs, and the key barriers to, and drivers of, their growth. It also offers suggestions on how various stakeholders could build a more supportive framework for the sector. See also the more recent State of social enterprise in Bangladesh, Ghana, India and Pakistan

Social enterprise landscape in Pakistan


This landmark report finds that social enterprise is taking off in the Philippines where the number of social enterprise start-ups has tripled in the last decade and a new wave of young social entrepreneurs is emerging. In a country that faces entrenched challenges despite a surging economy, social enterprises are generating employment, alleviating poverty, empowering women and creating a significant economic impact.

The state of social enterprise in the Philippines (Adobe PDF 3.79MB)


Social enterprises are empowering women and youth in Singapore, where 64 per cent of social enterprises are led by women, compared to 26 per cent of all businesses, and 40 per cent are led by youth. Although there was a sharp drop in new start-ups in 2020, 67 per cent of Singapore’s social enterprises were founded in the last five years and they are addressing critical social issues, notably by providing support for low income families, people with disabilities, women and girls, and vulnerable children and youth.

The state of social enterprise in Singapore (Adobe PDF 6MB)


The state of social enterprise in South East Asia is the culmination of almost five years of research in seven countries and territories and one of the largest surveys of its kind ever conducted. Businesses which trade in order to achieve a social or environmental impact provide us with a potential way out of the multiple crises that are faced in the region, and this comprehensive, comparative report tentatively estimates that there could be as many as one million social enterprises operating across South East Asia demonstrating that social enterprises are far from a marginal part of the regional economy.

The state of social enterprise in South East Asia (Adobe PDF 7MB)


This pioneering study finds that social enterprise is growing rapidly across Sri Lanka in sectors ranging from manufacturing to agriculture. Sri Lankan social enterprises are creating employment and leadership opportunities for young people and marginalised communities, working to support vulnerable children and adults, and empowering women and girls.

The state of social enterprise in Sri Lanka (Adobe PDF 16.9MB)


This survey estimates there are 55,000 social enterprises in Sudan. Although the term ‘social enterprise’ is relatively new in the country, the concept of trading for a social purpose is well established, and the sector grew rapidly until March 2020, with 65 per cent of social enterprises having been set up since 2013. The Covid-19 pandemic is posing serious challenges for Sudanese social enterprises, but they could play a key role in rebooting the economy on a fairer, more inclusive footing.

The state of social enterprise in Sudan (Adobe PDF, 2.48MB)


This report provides evidence that social enterprises are supporting the emergence of a more equal, inclusive and innovative economy in Thailand. They are delivering impact for low-income families, elderly and youth beneficiaries, among others, and that they are resilient and agile, as reflected in their ability to adapt to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The state of social enterprise in Thailand (Adobe PDF 4MB)


This survey reveals the exciting potential of social enterprise in Turkey, where the burgeoning sector is populated by young, purpose-driven businesses – the majority of which are founded and managed by women – that are addressing social needs across a range of fields, notably in education, manufacturing and the creative industries. It also provides an overview of the policy context and growing ecosystem of support for social entrepreneurship.

The state of social enterprise in Turkey (Adobe PDF 2.5MB)


This survey finds that interest in social enterprise is growing significantly in Vietnam, one of Asia’s most dynamic countries, among budding entrepreneurs, NGOs, policy makers, funders and academics. Most social enterprises are on a mission to create jobs. They provide support disadvantaged people and are nurturing spaces for women and young people to take on leadership roles.

The state of social enterprise in Vietnam (Adobe PDF 3.58MB)

Scoping for social enterprise programming in Jordan, Yemen, Iraq and Palestine

How are social enterprises responding to the multiple crises in Jordan, Palestine, Yemen and Iraq? This report seeks to answer that question through the lens of young people. It also aims to define social entrepreneurship in the local context, illuminate the emerging ecosystem, and identify the skills and experiences needed to better respond to local challenges. 

Scoping for social enterprise programming in Jordan, Yemen, Iraq and Palestine (Adobe PDF 3MB)


This is the first study to provide a genuinely global picture of social enterprise. The culmination of over five years of work, it draws on data, insights and case studies in 27 countries to provide what is believed to be the first estimate of the total size of social enterprise around the world. Moreover, it offers comparisons between social enterprises operating in diverse settings and highlights commonalities and differences, patterns and challenges. 

Crucially, this report will equip policy makers, social impact investors and other inclusive economy actors with information and evidence to more effectively support and measure the growth of social enterprise and the impact economy. 

More in Common: The global state of social enterprise (Adobe PDF, 7MB)

Watch the Local Traditions Fresh Perspecitves video, from the Social Enterprise world forum 2019

We had two launch webinars in which we explored the most interesting report findings and discussed the social enterprise movement globally with fantastic panels of social entrepreneurs and leading ecosystem players who are supporting the sector’s growth around the world. Both events were global in nature but featured speakers and detailed examples from the regions in focus. Watch the recordings:

‘More in Common: The global state of social enterprise’ report launch — Asia in focus
‘More in Common: The global state of social enterprise’ report launch – Europe, Middle East, and Africa in focus