Trip Summary



CEIS has secured support from Communities Scotland to organize a visit programme from April 15th- April 22nd, 2007 to the Social Enterprise Alliance Conference in Long Beach California. The programme will incorporate social enterprise learning visits in the San Francisco area. The group of 20 people will include social enterprise leaders, social enterprise intermediaries, funding agencies and policy makers.


The launch of the social enterprise strategy and related initiatives to support the sector in 2007 will give fresh momentum to social enterprises in Scotland. Communities Scotland and CEIS believe that this Learning Programme will reinforce the vision behind the strategy and assist with achievement of a number of its strategic objectives.


Participants will get an opportunity to experience social enterprise with different scale and vision. Social enterprises, (not-for-profits), in the USA often operate on a different scale to the UK. There are many innovate engagements with commercial franchises to achieve social benefit, compelling commercial relationships between social enterprises and government agencies, and lucrative ventures between charities and trading subsidiaries.


Observing different values, different systems, a sector that is much more mature, will enable a Scottish delegation to critically analyse these experiences to determine which strategies, concepts and best practice is transferable to Scotland. This will equip the social enterprise sector with a broad range of experiences that can influence future investment, development programmes and policy initiatives.


A similar programme organised in England and Wales in 2002 provided the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and leading Foundations with an in depth understanding of the social enterprise sector. We anticipate that this programme will developed strong and lasting relationships between programme participants and will bring future benefits to policy making, funding and social enterprise development in Scotland.




The Social Enterprise Alliance


The Social Enterprise Alliance has emerged as the common ground of all bodies representing social enterprises – a single point of reference and support, a source of education and networking, the leading voice of this revolutionary social and economic movement – and is the product of the merger of two North American organisations – The National Gathering for Social Entrepreneurs and SeaChange.


Their aim is to change the way “not-for-profits” operate and generate the capital they need to carry out their mission — a new way based on sustainability and social entrepreneurship.  They believe that by doing this they:


Will be able to recruit staff who are both mission-driven and trained in the business models.
Will not have to constantly try to prove to the financial community the social and economic worth of investing in their work.
Will be able to recruit board members who understand the real world of business, and, at the same time, appreciate the cause that drives the businesses activities.
Will have access to research to demonstrate what they know to be true.


The annual conference of the Social Enterprise Alliance is billed as the ‘largest gathering of mission-based organisations, foundations, corporate representatives and management assistance providers committed to pursuing financial sustainability through ‘Social Enterprise’.


The annual conference brings over 600 attendees with a mix of the following:


61% Nonprofit CEO’s and managers
14% Corporate and foundation grant-makers
13% Management assistance professionals
12% Academics from leading institutions nationwide


The Theme of the 2007 programme is “Earned Income – Pathways to sustainability”