Minister: ‘Social economy is a great UK success story’

On 5 March 2015, successful Scottish social enterprises and social investors joined then Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude, British Council Scotland Director Lloyd Anderson and Chivas Regal UK in announcing a global campaign to boost the UK social economy.

Held in the picturesque Scottish town of Keith, the event celebrated UK social enterprise and also marked the UK launch of a worldwide campaign to promote social investment into the UK.

Noting that one in five UK businesses has a social mission at its heart and that social enterprises contribute £55 billion annually to the UK economy, Francis Maude said, ‘the social economy is a great UK success story.’ He said, ‘We are committed to creating the right environment for these innovative and life-changing organisations to grow so they can support communities in the UK and across the globe.’

To that end, the UK has launched a ‘Social Investment is GREAT’ campaign to ‘promote the UK as the global hub of social investment where businesses and individuals can invest in enterprises that have a positive social impact and make a difference in communities.’

By way of example, the Minister cited Delivered Next Day Personally, a Scottish socially driven courier company that helps disabled, disenfranchised and long-term ill people to return to employment.

He also highlighted Two Fingers Brewing Co. whose profits from beer sales go to Prostate Cancer UK. Both of these social businesses are finalists in ‘The Venture’, a competition sponsored by Chivas that offers support and a share of $1 million prize money to high potential social enterprises.

In his remarks, Dr Lloyd Anderson explained how the British Council supports the development of social enterprise in the UK and around the world through its Global Social Enterprise programme.

The UK has launched a ‘Social Investment is GREAT’ campaign to promote the UK as the global hub of social investment

He underscored the opportunities the programme creates for UK social enterprises and support organisations to trade, franchise and deliver contracts overseas but also to learn from best international practice, build global networks and help policymakers in other countries create a more enabling environment for social enterprise. He mentioned training and mentoring carried out around the world under the programme, particularly in Indonesia, China, South Korea, India, Pakistan and Ghana

Dr Anderson also announced a new British Council partnership with the Social Enterprise Academy and the Real Ideas Organisation. Together, they will develop a Social Enterprise Schools’ Pack that will be distributed in 4,500 schools in the UK and overseas in order to help teachers provide pupils with hands-on experience of running a social enterprise.  

He said the partnership ‘draws on the experience in Scotland and the West of England of pioneering social enterprise education and the British Council’s experience of supporting educational excellence worldwide.’

Noting that 50% of millennials in the UK already see the primary purpose of business as improving society, Dr Anderson said that the packs will encourage young people to contribute to a more inclusive, open and prosperous world. He added that such initiatives, ‘support the UK’s social economy and build trust between the UK and other countries.’