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UK social enterprise sector is fighting back

4 August 2011
Business Secretary Vince Cable

It is hugely encouraging to see so many social enterprises starting and expanding.

Business Secretary Vince Cable

The UK social enterprise sector is outstripping mainstream enterprise and turning deprivation into business success, reveals a major new report launched this week.

Fightback Britain says one in seven of all social enterprises is a start-up, more than three times the proportion of start-ups in mainstream small business.

Echoing findings in this year’s RBS SE100 Data Report, it says that social enterprises are twice as likely as mainstream businesses to have reported growth in the last year.

And they are more likely to be led by women, young people and people from minority ethnic groups.

Three times as many social enterprises as mainstream small businesses are operating in Britain’s most deprived communities.

The report adds that some of the biggest social enterprises operating in the UK today began life in the recession of the 1980s.

The report supported by the Co-operative Bank also marks the launch of Social Enterprise UK – the rebranded Social Enterprise Coalition.

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Business Secretary Vince Cable said: ‘It is hugely encouraging to see so many social enterprises starting and expanding, and creating jobs in local communities.’

Paul Martin, Head of Charity & Social Enterprise at The Co-operative Bank, said the findings recognised ‘a very real shift in consumer thinking and behaviour’.

He said: ‘People want businesses to have a positive influence on society, which is why social enterprise has shown stronger financial growth compared with the general market.’

Social Enterprise UK CEO Peter Holbrook said: 'The findings show that it is social enterprises, not private sector businesses that are starting up in Britain’s deprived communities, boosting local economies and creating jobs whilst remedying the country’s social and environmental problems.

'Some of the biggest social enterprises operating in the UK today are those that started in the recession of the 80s. We’re seeing a new generation of social enterprises being created during these incredibly difficult economic times and in the communities where they’re desperately needed.  And the research shows that the general public are buying from social enterprises, which is an important indicator that social enterprise is really starting to take hold. Very soon social enterprise could change the face of British business.’

Later in the year Social Enterprise UK will lead on a national campaign to raise awareness of social enterprise focused on the general public, private sector businesses and public sector service commissioners.

Fightback Britain is available to download from Social Enterprise UK.

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