Social Enterprise in Fife: Extract

Social Enterprise in Fife: Extract
A Report for Fife Council, by Social Value Lab

Mapping Social Enterprise


The mapping study consisted of three key elements.


1. Identifying the ‘population’


From the data available from the Company Register (Companies House) and the Charity Register (OSCR) a comprehensive long-list of potential social enterprises was composed.


By reducing double entries, applying our social enterprise selection criteria and financial data from the organisation’s annual accounts (where available) the list was reduced to a definite list of 167 social enterprises in various states of development.


2. Survey


A survey of the social enterprises was conducted to get a detailed sense of the activities, impacts, geographic reach, trajectories, growth intentions and barriers, innovation and support needs of social enterprises. In total 38 social enterprises responded to the survey. 


3. Financial Analysis


Finally, an in-depth financial analysis was conducted of the annual accounts and the other financial data gathered to establish a set of financial ratios covering profitability, earned income, self-sufficiency, liquidity, reserves, assets, etc. 


Defining Social Enterprise


Agreeing a clear definition of ‘social enterprise’ was a key element of this study. Social Enterprise UK describes it as follows:


Social enterprises are businesses that trade to tackle social problems, improve communities, people’s life chances, or the environment. They make their money from selling goods and services in the open market, but they reinvest their profits back into the business or the local community .


The most commonly accepted definition used in Scotland is set out in the five criteria of the current ‘Voluntary Code of Practice’:


A social enterprise: 


– Exists primarily to achieve social and/or environmental benefit.


– Reinvests any profits back into the business or for the people it exists to serve.


– Locks all assets into the business and on dissolution redirects these appropriately. 


– Aspires to financial independence through the money it makes from trading.


– Operates independently of direct control from public authorities.


Social enterprises are driven by a common set of values and principles based on fairness, democracy, empowerment, collaboration and mutuality, which sets them apart from the private sector. Their entrepreneurial spirit and their ability to generate income through trading distinguishes them from the voluntary sector. 

The full document can be viewed here.