Blog: Census 2019 launch

Blog from Rick Rijsdijk, of Social Value Lab, about the forthcoming launch of the 2019 social enterprise census.


Mapping the social enterprise sector in Scotland

Scotland has a long history of pioneering forms of business, including mutual, co-operatives and social enterprises.

Over the last 14 years, the Scottish social enterprise sector has enjoyed unparalleled levels of political and economic support. During this time the Scottish Government has embraced social enterprise as an important partner in the economy and in the creation of a fairer, more inclusive Scotland.

In 2015, the Scottish Government, in co-operation with agencies with a shared interest in supporting social enterprise and growing its impact, embarked on an ambitious project to carry out a bi-annual census to build the fullest understanding yet of social enterprise in Scotland. Take part in the 2019 survey.

So, how many social enterprises are there in Scotland? What do they do? What contribution do they make?

In 2017, we recorded 5,600 social enterprises with an economic contribution valued at £2bn of Gross Value Added (GVA) and as a significant source of employment, supporting 81,357 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) employees.  Social enterprises are active across all economic sectors from Community Centres & Halls, Childcare, Arts and Creative Industry to managing land or utilities. The Census also shows that the sector is living up to its claims of doing business in a different way, empowering women, disadvantaged groups and communities. The most fascinating fact is that in just over half the cases (54%), the evidence points to no likely alternative source of supply in the absence of individual social enterprises.

Take part in the 2019 census!

The census is an essential guide to tracking social enterprise development, its impact on the national economy and identifying the support needs of the sector. This evidence has contributed to the sector working in collaboration with the Scottish Government to develop the Social Enterprise Strategy 2015-2025, the 2017-2020 Action Plan to build a sustainable social enterprise sector, the strategy to internationalise social enterprise and many local policies and strategies.

The Social Enterprise Census 2019 survey is now live and available until 31st May 2019! It takes just 15 minutes to complete the survey and inform the latest facts, figures, needs and prospects about social enterprise in Scotland – please take the time to complete and share widely across all your networks. This is your opportunity to influence the government’s thinking and the support available for the sector.

Join us for the findings launch

The findings of the survey will be launched at Scotland’s Social Enterprise Policy & Practice Conference on 4th September by Aileen Campbell, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, Scottish Government. Early-bird tickets are available from £125 per person until 5th July. Book your tickets.

If you have any questions on the survey, please contact –

View the 2017 census report

Rick Rijsdijk, Director, Social Value Lab

The Social Enterprise Census has been researched and produced by Social Value Lab ( Social Value Lab work in Scotland, UK-wide and internationally – conducting research, demonstrating impact, developing new social ventures, and supporting others to do the same.

We work with a wide range of partners and clients – from frontline charities to a supporting cast of grant-makers, investors, support agencies, public authorities and businesses. All are striving to bring about social change in one way or another.