Scottish Executive support for social enterprise
Support for businesses within the area covered by Scottish Enterprise is largely provided by the Business Gateway – a single brand for businesses allowing easier access (online at http://www.bgateway.com/ by telephoning 0845 609 6611 or by visiting one of around 42 outlets) to a consistent range of services geared towards potential business start-ups and growing businesses. There are standard / core programmes available through all outlets providing focussed and high quality support to customers. Additional services may also be available at local level on a discretionary basis. Much depends on the specific business needs.
Scottish Enterprise’s remit with social enterprises is to build capacity and sustainable employment. Recent activity has involved the inclusion of a social economy module in the Premier Adviser Diploma for Client and Account Managers, specific diagnostic tools developed for social enterprises, specific pages added to Business Gateway and Scottish Enterprise web sites explaining which social enterprises the Network can assist and direct involvement in the setting up and support of Social Investment Scotland.
Within the area covered by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, information on the various programmes can be obtained online at http://www.hie.co.uk, or by telephoning 01463 234171.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise also undertake to provide support to develop the capacity of social enterprises to undertake business activities and the provision of local services. Current activity involves accreditation of business advisors, social enterprise asset and funding / finance reviews, awareness raising events and the development and roll-out of a procurement ‘toolkit’.
In summary, the services are available to social enterprises, however the support programmes are not automatic and will be dependent on specific support criteria and whether the project is commercially viable. Decisions on the provision of support for individual projects are entirely a matter for the Enterprise Networks.
Source: Rona Hamilton, Business Growth Unit, Scottish Executive, Rona.Hamilton@scotland.gsi.gov.uk