Social Enterprise

SocEnt IconThe Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) recognises the importance of social enterprise to our economic prosperity.

Social enterprises play an important role in both social and economic inclusion and are often recognised exemplars in skills provision.

In order to fully understand the social enterprise sector in Greater Birmingham, research was commissioned in late 2013.

It has helped establish a clearer and more up-to-date picture of the sector and outlines the economic and social contribution these businesses make.

Perhaps most importantly, this research makes clearer what needs to be done to help create the conditions in which the sector can flourish and make even more of an impact.

The report finds:

  • There are an estimated 450-500 social enterprises in Greater Birmingham, with a combined turnover of at least £180m and employing over 14,600 people.
  • Social enterprise is a growth sector. Even in the current harsh economic climate, social enterprises are performing well. Staff levels have increased by almost 11% during the period 2011-2013 – the creation of about 1,500 jobs. 73% of social enterprises reported an increase in turnover on the previous year. Over 67% expect to see growth in 2014, and over 72% expect to create additional jobs – with a significant proportion of these being for young people.
  • Trading: trading is now overwhelmingly the greatest source of income for social enterprises. Roughly 86% of their income is earned from trading as opposed to about 14% from grants, donations and ‘other sources’. This is a significant shift from 6-7 years ago when a survey of Birmingham social enterprises indicated that only about 17% of those responding were earning 50% or more of their income from sales.
  • Social enterprise is an innovative sector. The introduction of new products or services is often regarded as a proxy for business innovation. Over 78% of social enterprises responding to our survey reported introducing a new service or product in the preceding twelve months.
  • Social value: Social enterprises combine trading, social purpose and voluntary effort to deliver a unique blend of social and economic impact. The measure of Gross Value Added (GVA), frequently used to indicate the value of goods and services produced in an area, does not fully capture the contribution of social enterprise because it does not reflect the sector’s social value.
  • While there is no single, definitive measure of social value, our survey helps illustrate what makes the social enterprise business model different and the social value such enterprises can unlock.

Download the brochure showcasing the findings of the report and case studies here.

Download the full report here.