History of social enterprises in Cornwall & Isles of Scilly

Cornwall has a track record of innovative social enterprises tackling big challenges like the Eden Project, Fifteen Cornwall, the Real Ideas Organisation, School for Social Entrepreneurs, CN4C and many others working with sardines to surf.

Some of the leaders of these incredible enterprises have come together under the banner of ‘Enterprising Leaders’ and have helped shape the ‘SE Strategy’ aligned to our SE Zone bid.  We have a new ERDF supported programme, ‘The Engine Room’ which is developing a coordinated SE network for Cornwall, through physical SE hubs across the County.  All of the above is factored into LEP/EU strategies through our close working relationship with the Council at Executive level.

Current social enterprise landscape

  • There are approximately 1,100 Social Purpose Businesses
  • These organisations are markedly larger than the rest of the VCSE sector in terms of turnover: having an average annual turnover of c.£250,000. and the median income is £104,000 per year;
  • The annual turnover of Social Purpose Businesses exceeds £280m million, of which CICs account for c.£70m million;
  • The main areas of work for CIC’s is:
    • The social care/welfare or health/wellbeing areas (38%);
    • Education and training (19%);
    • Culture/arts (14%)
  • 13,200 people currently work for Social Purpose Businesses in CIoS. This is c.5% of the total workforce
  • Of this approximately 3,600 work in CICs;
  • Two thirds (62%) of the workforce are women and 38% men;
  • There are c. 30,000 people volunteering for Social Purpose Businesses

Key objectives over the coming year 

1.  Launch Skills Development Programme for SE

2.  Develop Action Plan focusing on our 5 key themes

3.  Ensure Zone is featured in EU Strategic Investment Framework

Stakeholder Group

Organisations represented*:  Cornwall College, Cornwall Voluntary Sector Forum, Fifteen Cornwall, Cornwall School for Social Entrepreneurs, Exhale, Community Energy Plus, Pentreath, Real Ideas Organisation, Cornwall Neighbourhoods for Change, Eden Project, Cornwall Sustainable Tourism Network. 

Through its members, Enterprising Leaders links to Cornwall Council, The Local Enterprise Partnership, the Voluntary Sector Commissioning Board, Local Nature Partnership, Health & Wellbeing Board, Employment & Skills Board etc

Buy Social 

The Engine Room website will soon have a dedicated ‘Buy Social’ zone and an interactive ‘Social Enterprise Directory’ that will allow users to search for products/services/social enterprises in a variety of ways

Contact details

Website: The Engine Room

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @engineupdate  #CornwallSEZone