The Scottish government has pledged an additional £5 million (€5.66 million) in funding to its free advice service for social enterprises.
The flagship service provides specialist business guidance to new and developing social enterprises – not-for-profit businesses with a social or environmental focus – including both one-to-one advice sessions and workshops on issues affecting new businesses such as marketing, business planning and creating a startup. The programme, which is globally recognised as an example of best practice in state support of social enterprises, will be delivered by Just Enterprises, a social enterprise consortium headed by the non-profit Community Enterprise in Scotland (CEIS).
CEIS CEO Gerry Higgins said: “Following a positive independent evaluation of Just Enterprise last summer, we were delighted that our recent bid to continue to deliver these key services was successful. A social enterprise ourselves, we know the challenges for our clients in balancing income generation with social impact. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners across Scotland to deliver an innovative and effective programme of business support to enterprising third sector organisations.”
Since the introduction of the scheme in 2011, the Scottish government has invested around £8 million (€9.05 million) in support for social enterprises in Scotland through a range of programmes, including loan provision for social startups, contracting with supported businesses and providing funding support for people impacted by the UK government’s welfare cuts.
Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said: “The social enterprise sector contributes over £2 billion to the economy every year and employs over 80,000 people so it is vital social enterprises are able to access the support and advice they need to succeed. Social enterprises are driven by a passion to improve their local communities and provide a service for the greater good. They benefit and support people, often from disadvantaged backgrounds, and create jobs in the process. It is essential we continue to support their vision to create a better and fairer Scotland.”