One Year On: The effect of COVID-19 on the social enterprise sector

Social enterprises are delivering high returns to the ‘build back’ effort.

The sector is sustaining and creating good jobs, providing vital goods, services and support – and is returning to growth, in spite of facing difficulties accessing state support – and relying less on this support during the crisis than business overall.

Troubleshooting need throughout the crisis, social enterprises have supported communities, addressed health and social care inequalities and responded to need over the last year, with many going beyond their normal business activities and social missions.

The last year has seen a jump in interest in social enterprise. As well as a general rise in consumer interest in socially and environmentally inclusive business models, and growing engagement on socially and environmentally inclusive activity in core business, there has been a significant rise in community interest company (CIC) registration over the last 12 months.

This report looks at how social enterprise has fared over the last year of the COVID crisis, using data from the Social Enterprise Advisory Panel and case studies. It makes recommendations about what is needed to ensure that social enterprise can deliver its potential in recovery.