Scotland's Social Enterprise Strategy 2016-2026

A ten-year, national social enterprise strategy, which sets out our shared ambitions for social enterprise in Scotland, jointly developed with the sector.

A Vision For Social Enterprise

Over the next decade social enterprise will be at the forefront of a new wave of ethical and socially responsible business in Scotland. It will become a far-reaching and valued alternative and a key part of the Scottish way of doing business.

The Scottish Government has worked with the sector to develop and agree the following ten-year strategy for social enterprise. We take as our starting point the Vision for Social Enterprise [23] that was developed by the social enterprise community itself.

A Growing Movement

During the next ten years, social enterprise will catch hold in every part of Scotland, taking seed in disadvantaged urban areas as well as rural communities. The rapid expansion of the sector will be fuelled by the quality, courage and commitment of a growing number of social entrepreneurs. It will be accelerated by a consistent and well-functioning local ecosystem of support. Over time, the sector will develop as a broad movement, bound by common principles. As it develops, the sector will retain its strong community roots, independent orientation, and entrepreneurial character.

Becoming the Norm

During the next ten years, social enterprise will become widely accepted as a more just, democratic and inclusive way of doing business. It will feature in the curriculum and behaviours of every school, college and university in Scotland, inspiring young people who will undertake the change toward the type of society we aspire to. Social enterprise will also become a career of choice, offering a fair workplace where skills are nurtured and work is fairly rewarded. In time, it will be considered by default by anyone thinking about starting a business.

Becoming Visible Everywhere

During the next ten years, the social enterprise sector will develop a growing footprint and profile across Scotland. In time, social enterprises will be found delivering goods and services in every economic sector. Social enterprise brands and entrepreneurs will become recognised and valued by the general public, corporate and public sector customers alike. Social enterprises will become seen as the epitome of ethical, transparent and responsible business behaviour. While many social enterprises will opt to remain small and strongly rooted in their communities, some will grow fast, enjoy considerable success and go on to become the standard bearers of the movement.

Touching More Lives

During the next ten years, social enterprises will help transform the lives and prospects of families and communities in all parts of Scotland. They will become widely known for delivering high quality and sustainable services that reduce inequality, lift people out of poverty, foster more empowered and resilient communities, and improve health, wellbeing and quality of life. Social enterprises will introduce game-changing social innovations that will reshape public services in Scotland, providing long-term solutions not short-term fixes. The contribution of the sector will be gauged on a more balanced set of measures of national wellbeing.

Sitting Alongside Others

During the next ten years, the social enterprise sector will take its place as a thriving, productive, and integrated part of the Scottish economy. It will develop based on strong foundations of solidarity and co-operation, increasingly drawing on strength and resources from within - thousands of social enterprises supporting each other and trading with each other. The sector will become firmly established as part of the public service infrastructure in Scotland, based on a partnership of trust and mutual respect with public authorities. At the same time, it will increasingly develop ethical alliances within a wider movement of socially responsible businesses.

A Source of National Pride

During the next ten years, social enterprise will come to be seen as central to the Scottish way of doing business - a natural extension of Scotland's strong, fair and inclusive national identity. During the period, Scotland will go on to reinforce its position as one of the best places in the world to start and grow a social enterprise. Scotland's leadership and commitment to social enterprise will also become a key part of the country's international reputation in business and politics.


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