The State of Social Enterprise Report 2015, supported by Santander, is the most comprehensive research undertaken into the state of the sector.
The report shows that social enterprises in the UK are thriving, outperforming their mainstream SME counterparts in nearly every area of business: turnover growth, workforce growth, job creation, innovation, business optimism, and start-up rates.
The findings show that in a time of public sector austerity and globally networked markets, social enterprises are providing real answers to the significant social and environmental problems we face.
Key Statistics from the State of Social Enterprise Report
A dynamic movement: Close to half (49%) of all social enterprises are five years old or less. 35% are three years old or less – more than three times the proportion of SME start-ups. In terms of new business formation in the UK, social enterprise is where the action is.
At the forefront of economic recovery: The proportion of social enterprises that grew their turnover over the past 12 months is 52%. A greater proportion of social enterprises are growing than mainstream SMEs (40%).
Making a profit, making a difference: 50% of social enterprises reported a profit, with 26% breaking even. Almost all use the majority of those profits to further their social or environmental goals.
Focused where most needed: 31% of social enterprises are working in the top 20% most deprived communities in the UK.
Operating globally: The proportion of social enterprises that export or licence has grown to 14%. For over 1⁄3 of these, international trade accounts for between 11% and 50% of income.
It’s all about business: 73% of social enterprises earn more than 75% of their income from trade.
Stronger than ever in public services: 27% of social enterprises have the public sector as their main source of income, an increase on 2013 and 2011. 59% of social enterprises do some business with the public sector.
Innovation pioneers: The number of social enterprises introducing a new product or service in the last 12 months has increased to 59%. Among SMEs it has fallen to 38%.
An inclusive and diverse leadership: 40% of social enterprises are led by women; 31% have Black Asian Minority Ethnic directors; 40% have a director with a disability.
Job creators: 41% of social enterprises created jobs in the past 12 months compared to 22% of SMEs.
Not just any jobs: 59% of social enterprises employ at least one person who is disadvantaged in the labour market. For 16% of social enterprises, this group forms at least half of all employees.
Paying fair: The average pay ratio between social enterprise CEO pay and the lowest paid is just 3.6:1 – for FTSE 100 CEOs, this ratio stands at 150:1.
Not getting in on the Act: 49% of social enterprises operating in public sector markets say they’re yet to see it arrive in tender documents – there is much to do before the Social Value Act works as intended.
Appropriate funding and finance still key: 44% of social enterprises sought funding or finance in the last 12 months and 39% believe its lack of availability is a barrier to their sustainability. Just 5% of SMEs think access to finance is a barrier.