Internationalising Social Enterprise: A Strategy for Scotland (September 2016)

A strategy for implementing our ambitions for international excellence, leadership and impact in the social enterprise field.

Ministerial Foreword

Angela Constance, Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities

Scotland is an outward facing and enterprising nation. Our reputation for innovation is not new. From Alexander Fleming to John Logie Baird, this comparatively small nation has helped to shape the world we live in. Robert Owen's radical experiment in New Lanark went further, seeking to revolutionise the very model of business itself. This moment in history helped to pave the way for new forms of business, where social and commercial goals are blended together in the pursuit of a fairer and more equal society. I am thankful that this passion lives on: with 200 new social enterprise start-ups each year joining more than 5,000 already operating across Scotland.

Scotland's social entrepreneurs have the ability to see the possibilities brought about by change. This is a truly valuable commodity. As the world we live in continues to change and bring new challenges, with increasing global interdependence, our social entrepreneurs and social enterprises are helping to find new avenues towards social innovation and improvement. They are helping to tackle key issues of poverty and inequality and to transform local communities. They are helping to create a more peaceful, fair and inclusive world, contributing to international development, trade and knowledge. Crucially, they are ready and willing to share their knowledge and expertise - placing Scotland's blueprint for social enterprise on the world stage.

Scotland has created a world-leading model of support for social enterprise, which it has been pleased to share internationally. We have also been keen to learn from others and in 2008, Scotland hosted the first ever international Social Enterprise World Forum in Edinburgh. Many highly successful events later, from San Francisco to Rio de Janeiro, Scotland is now seeking to host its homecoming in 2018, marking 10-years since the inaugural event.

I am proud of what we have achieved to date and recognise that there is still more that we might do. It is essential we continue to support and encourage our social enterprises to think globally, and be the good global citizens that we, as Scots, aspire to be. We want to see social enterprises seek opportunities to trade and attract inward investment; to be open to new ideas and learning and to share expertise with a global audience. I feel confident that this strategy, and the actions proposed, will set the correct course to achieve those aims.

I am grateful for all the work that has been done to develop this strategy and am pleased that this has been the result of a wide collaboration. I thank all those that have contributed and look forward to seeing this vibrant and dynamic movement for change continue to make impact in Scotland and worldwide.

Angela Constance
Cabinet Secretary for Communities,
Social Security and Equalities


Email: Will Tyler-Greig,

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