There is a developing body of research into the social enterprise movement. We conduct and commission research to help build this evidence base and support our advocacy work.
Our biggest piece of research is the State of Social Enterprise Survey. It’s the largest analysis of the social enterprise sector in the UK, and the largest of its kind in the world.
The latest results of this survey, published in the Fightback Britain report in August 2011, uncovered an emerging generation of businesses that are both starting up and operating in Britain’s most deprived communities. We found that 39% of all social enterprises are based and working in the most deprived communities in the UK, compared to 13% of all SMEs. A third of all social enterprise start-ups have originated in the UK's poorest areas.
The findings also show that across Britain, 1 in 7 of all social enterprises is a start-up, more than three times the proportion of start-ups in mainstream small businesses (14% compared to 4%). And social enterprises are twice as likely as mainstream businesses to have reported growth in the last year and are also more likely to be led by women, young people, and those from minority ethnic groups.
Fightback Britain: A report on the State of Social Enterprise was commissioned by Social Enterprise UK. BMG Research was contracted to carry out the survey fieldwork and the final report was supported by Co-operatives UK.
The results of the first ever ‘State of Social Enterprise' survey were released on Social Enterprise Day in 2009, and they found optimism and growth in the sector, particularly when compared with other businesses.
A detailed look at the topic of social franchising. The report examines the various replication journeys open to growth-minded social enterprises. By exploring real-life examples of replication to date, it seeks to shed light on the critical obstacles and success factors, and assess the value of each replication model for the broad spectrum of social enterprise.
The research was based on a series of qualitative, in-depth interviews with 22 organisations. The research questions considered the context and scale of each organisation, as well as its motivations for growth. The respondents were asked about their specific experiences of replication, including support and training received, any impact on their core social objectives, and the extent to which they have connected with other social enterprises following similar paths.
Find out more about social franchising by reading our Social Franchising Manual.
Earlier this year we published a report called 'Time for Social Enterprise' in which we asked business and social enterprise leaders, bankers and investors who support social enterprise in their day-to-day work: What is it about social enterprise that is getting so many people excited? Why do they think that for social enterprise the time has come?