Our mission is to establish and service a support network across Scotland, for thousands of social and community activists and their enterprises.
We pursue this through three key activities:
1. Connecting and informing the network
The 2017 Social Enterprise Census indicated that there are over 5,600 social enterprises, employing over 85,000 people across all sectors in Scotland; through regular meetings of networks and our hosting of other gatherings – contact with this activity is continuous.
Over 15 years, the circulation of our weekly bulletin has stabilised at around 4,000 subscribers; each year around 250 new people join – roughly the same leave (churning around 6%).
Our website curates a collection of over 12,000 articles about the social economy. It also provides a range of resources to and information on the 18 local Social Enterprise Networks (SENs) and 6 thematic SENs as well as a series of case studies; around 800 profiles of Scottish social enterprises; and popular jobs and events pages.
2. Facilitating Networks
We encourage and facilitate meetings of social enterprises across the country – with a particular focus on the operation of Thematic and Local Social Enterprise Networks (SENs); these provide members with opportunities for peer support, collective action and market development.
There are currently six Thematic SENs – Health; Community Food; Sport; Cultural/Creative; Tourism; and Employability (in partnership with Social Firms Scotland).
Together, over 500 social enterprises are actively engaged with one or more of the thematic SENs.
There are currently 18 Local SENS and we are committed to their creation in every area that wants one. The vision is a growing community of frontline social enterprises across Scotland (currently over 800) – connected and energised through a Network of networks.
3. Developing the Sector
We act as a third sector ‘intermediary’ – between front line SENs and Scottish Govt. policy makers – helping to develop strategy and action priorities.
In response to dialogue with our wider network, we will continue to, with others, incubate and spin out new services which grow the social economy. Examples of these include Scotland UnLtd; DTA Scotland; the Social Enterprise Academy; Firstport; Senscot Legal; the Scottish Community Re:Investment Trust (SCRT); and, most recently, Partnership For Procurement (P4P).
Through network activity, newsletters and advocacy, we champion the role of the social economy in creating a just and prosperous Scotland.