New report shows social enterprise sector performing strongly

But public sector cuts could hamper growth

More than half of Britain’s social enterprises experienced growth last year – but many are worried about the potential impact of public sector cuts.      These are the principal conclusions drawn by Fightback Britain, a new report based on the responses of 865 social enterprise firms. The report paints a positive picture of the sector as a whole. One in seven social enterprises is a start-up – compared to less than one in 20 conventional small firms. Furthermore, 58% of social enterprises reported growth last year – compared to just 28% of traditional commercial companies. However, when asked about their future prospects, two-thirds of the survey’s respondents feel they will only achieve further growth by moving away from the public sector, given the widespread contraction of spending by state-funding entities. The study found that, in the social enterprise space, private sector specialists outnumber public sector experts by a ratio of almost two to one; however it added that Britain’s biggest social enterprises, and those working in the most under-privileged communities, typically rely heavily on public sector contracts – so their future growth could be at risk. Jonathan Jenkins, director of ventures for UNLTD is of the opinion that “whether the social sector can (or will) comfortably engage with the likes of Capita and SERCO will be fascinating.”

He added: “I don’t think it can afford not to. In doing so, it could help many social ventures achieve scale of operations they could only dream of, but how many will lock themselves in the sector’s puritanical ivory tower and refuse to engage with what many see as ‘The Enemy’?”

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