Sean Duffy discusses the concept of the wellbeing economy, and how social enterprises can support the recovery from Covid-19
Society and business are a reflection of each other. It’s time to “grow forward”. Time to appreciate, value and embed the concept of the “wellbeing economy” within our national recovery plans.
If the pandemic and economic woes of the past have taught us anything it is that society and business are a reflection of each other. With an economic scale of around £2 billion, social enterprise and its role in the recovery needs to be understood. Through growing Scotland’s social capital, we do what we do with purpose at the heart whilst delivering economic benefit.
The heavy lifting needed to really deliver Scotland’s recovery calls for a change in people’s lives and a change in how communities exist. Preventative spend and fair work principles that project respect, opportunity, fulfilment, security, voice and importantly, individual difference are vital components of community equity and social growth. When people feel valued, included, and can contribute, social capital increases and communities thrive.
Enter our much sought-after wellbeing economy. If we don’t recognise now that it’s time to turn the wellbeing economy rhetoric into a reality – then when?
Social enterprise through, ethics, values and emotional intelligence can bring about a revolutionary repositioning of the societal components that truly underpin Scotland's recovery. We represent provide the systems change leadership our wellbeing economy needs. Offering a route into communities we enable whole groups, often those most marginalised, to become agents of their own change. We navigate the complex arrangements of institutions of power in rapidly changing environments. In doing so, we can shift the rigid structures that entrench inequality away from rhetoric and towards a wellbeing economy.
As we seek to rise to economic and civic challenges of monumental proportions, our focus must be on a new approach with three significant opportunities at the core.
First, we need to truly champion and tackle current poor performance on addressing inequality and the creation and adoption of the concept of a wellbeing economy. Social enterprise is the vehicle to move this objective beyond rhetoric to reality.
Second, let’s consider social enterprise and its principles as a nationally recognised and understood viable, entrepreneurial business model and career path.
Third, power the economic recovery of Scotland and its communities through inclusive and sustainable enterprise principles. Scotland’s untapped opportunity is to put social enterprise principles at the heart of our recovery to truly own a worldclass wellbeing economy.
In the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic many of the heritage obstacles to service provision across society evaporated overnight due to necessity. We scaled hurdles to do what we needed to do. We need to recognise the ingenuity of social enterprise and its principles as a viable, agile, entrepreneurial business model and career path as traditional support programmes alone will not solve our jobless crisis or lead our recovery. Let’s not “build back” to the institutional behaviours we have come from. It’s time to grow forward into the wellbeing economy.
It is incumbent on us all to make sure the rising tide lifts all boats.