We’re now well and truly into the new year and we’re excited to welcome new and exciting things for social enterprise in 2020. But in order to think about what’s next for the movement, we must reflect on what’s been. So we’ve put together a roundup of Social Enterprise UK’s highlights from 2019.

We strived to increase our membership base to continue to best represent UK social enterprises. We also launched a number of new campaigns and built on existing ones, to build markets and opportunities for our members and increase public awareness of the sector. With that said… here’s a few of the key things we’ve achieved with our members this year.

1. We welcomed 898 new organisations into our membership

This brought the total number of members to 2,609 at the end of 2019, as we continue to build the largest network of social enterprises in the country.

2. 10 new businesses joined our Buy Social Corporate Challenge

The Corporate Challenge aims to see a leading group of companies spend £1 Billion with social enterprises.

3. We created a brand-new Buy Social Directory

The new social enterprise search engine features our certified social enterprise members who can be searched for by location, industry and social mission, making it easier than ever to search for social enterprises. Since launching on at the end of November we’ve had nearly 4,000 website visits to the Directory.

4. We launched a new public facing campaign headed up by Michael Sheen, Caitlin Moran, Chris Addison and Sali Hughes

The campaign held in October, Buy Social for a Better World, saw our celebrity supporters come to life in augmented reality on social enterprise products in Co-op stores across the UK. It reached 5.2 million on Twitter, helping to build public awareness about social enterprises and the impact they make.

5. Our Social Enterprise Day campaign went truly global

Our #WhoKnew campaign, held on 21st November, reached over 7.6 million on social media. We worked with our international partners to make bigger than ever, with social enterprises from 35 different countries taking part.

6. We launched The Future of Work

This new programme of activity aims to support our social enterprise members to attract and retain the best talent and strive to become the best leaders they can be. In 2019 this included a retention campaign on social media, #MyJobMatters, as well as creating induction videos for our member’s staff featuring Michael Sheen and Chris Addison. We also held a supported a number of members with a tailored leadership programme.

7. We worked with our health and social care members to combat the threat of NHS primary legislation changes

These changes involve the proposal of reducing competitive tendering in the health and care sector and would be detrimental to social enterprises working in this space. We were also able to push the agenda of social enterprises in health and care with a roundtable jointly hosted by DCMS and NHS England (the first time in number of years to have such interest from government departments), generating a commitment to support the sector and a work plan to address some of the key challenges. NHS England CEO Simon Stevens also visited one of our Health and Care members to see for himself the outstanding and innovative work that social enterprises deliver for the NHS.

8. We announced a new cohort of Honorary Fellows

Our Social Enterprise Honorary Fellowship recognises individuals who have made a significant contribution to social enterprise. The new cohort of fellow was announced at the 2019 UK Social Enterprise Awards.

9. Two new Places joined our Social Enterprise Places Programme

The Places programme recognises hotspots of social enterprise activity across the UK and brings key stakeholders together to help the sector grow locally.

10. We launched our biennial State of Social Enterprise report

Our State of Social Enterprise reports offer the largest and most comprehensive research into the state of the social enterprise sector in the UK. The report titled Capitalism in Crisis? Transforming the Economy for People and Planet shows how social enterprises are tackling the triple threat of economic stagnation, social division and environmental meltdown.

11. We took our message to the streets that business as usual isn’t working

In the lead up to the 2019 General Election we hired an ad van and drove it through the centres of political and economic power with our message that business as usual isn’t working. Author and economist Grace Blakeley also joined us to talk about the need for a different economic model.