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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

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10-year plan launched for social enterprises in Scotland

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Focus to be on stimulating social enterprises, developing stronger organisations and realising market opportunities

A new strategy to ensure Scotland’s social enterprises continue to thrive over the next decade has been revealed by the Scottish Government.

The first ever dedicated, long-term, social enterprise strategy published, it includes a number of steps aimed at growing the sector over the next 10 years.

Concentrated in three areas, the government will focus on stimulating social enterprises, developing stronger organisations and realising market opportunities.

Launching the strategy on Wednesday, communities and equalities secretary Angela Constance, said doing so would help Scottish social enterprises add to their £1.68 billion economic value.

Action plans spanning the decade ahead will be created for each focus area, the first of which isn't due to be published until next year.

In the meantime, to kickstart the strategy £140,000 is being made available to expand the Social Entrepreneurs Fund to help individuals who want to set up and run a social enterprise.

“Social enterprises have fantastic potential in terms of economic benefit, currently contributing £1.68 billion to our economy and providing employment opportunities," Constance said.

"We want to release that potential and allow them to thrive.

“We’ve worked with the social enterprise sector to develop a strategy based on first-hand experience so we know what’s needed to help the sector grow and continue to succeed. By doing so, we can open them up to wider national and global markets and help boost our economy and drive inclusive growth.

“This will direct our action over the next decade and we will work collectively to push forward social enterprises and allow social entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into reality and contribute to a fairer, more equal and inclusive Scotland.”

The strategy has been developed with the social enterprise sector with the help of local government, and aims to help local communities who want to start their own enterprise as well as continue to support and grow those already operating.

An emphasis will be put on increasing the number of disabled social entrepreneurs and look at ways to enable social enterprises to employ more disabled people, including the use of targeted wage incentives.

In a joint statement, Pauline Graham, chief executive of Social Firms Scotland, Aidan Pia, executive director of Senscot and Fraser Kelly, chief executive of Social Enterprise Scotland, said: “Scotland is a recognised world leader in social enterprise support and development. The journey towards the launch of this ambitious strategy has been both rewarding and challenging.

“Our social enterprise community, stretching across every area of urban and rural Scotland, is diverse. This new strategy sets out a clear, powerful and inclusive vision for the growth of social enterprise over the next decade and beyond.”