Highlands and Islands Enterprise
Highlands and Islands Social Enterprise Sector Profile
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) commissioned GEN, working with Rock Solid Research and Research Resource, to undertake a profiling exercise of the social enterprise sector in the Highlands and Islands.
The objectives for the study are to:
• Review existing records, statistical data and research literature with a view to benchmarking social enterprise sector activity in the Highlands and Islands with the rest of Scotland, the UK and elsewhere, identifying areas of distinctiveness or opportunity;
• Undertake a comprehensive profiling of the social enterprise sector in the Highlands and Islands. This includes production of a standard template to profile the social enterprise sector;
• Gain an understanding of the current and potential role of social enterprises in economic sectoral development across the Highlands and Islands;
• Gain an overview of the economic and social impacts in the social enterprise sector, arising from HIE investment;
• Identify existing constraints and potential opportunities for growth along with insight into the support required to achieve this growth.
GEN used a mix of methods to undertake the work. A literature and secondary data review was used to set the context for the work. We carried out 20 stakeholder consultations and a sector confirmation exercise, in-depth survey and focus group programme with organisations operating in the sector.
This is the final report of the study.
Social enterprise – a definition
Using the information gathered through the primary research, we have identified those organisations operating as social enterprises. The term social enterprise does not have a universally accepted definition. For the purposes of this study the definition developed by SENSCOT in conjunction with HIE has been adopted, as shown below.
Definition of a Social Enterprise
1. Social enterprises have social and/or environmental objectives;
2. Social enterprises are trading businesses aspiring to financial independence;
3. Social enterprises have an ‘asset lock’ on both trading surplus and residual assets;
4. A social enterprise cannot be the subsidiary of a public sector body;
5. Social enterprises are driven by values – both in mission and business practice.
The data analysis in this report is presented in two ways:
• The term enterprising third sector organisations is used to refer to the sector as a whole – these organisations have a social mission/ purpose and generate some level of trading income;
• The term social enterprise refers to the subset of organisations which are currently generating at least 50% of their turnover from trading income.
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