The Cabinet Office has just published Social Enterprise Market Trends 2014.
This report — the first revision since 2012 — uses data from the Dept for Business, Innovation & Skills small business survey. By applying social enterprise selection criteria to that data it enables the proportion of businesses operating as social enterprises to be identified. The performance of the sector across a wide range of other standard business measures can then also be assessed.
This latest report highlights some quite startling facts.
For example, the UK social enterprise population has increased by around 58,000 since 2012, and now stands at about 741,000 (15% of the SME business population).
Of the 741,000 UK social enterprises, 195,000 are employers with at least one employee, and the rest (546,000) non-employers. The social enterprise sector employed roughly 2.27 million people in 2014. Estimated social enterprise employment has increased by roughly 300,000 since 2012.
The use of ‘industry-standard’ data from the BIS small business survey to further illumine social enterprise performance and trends is to be welcomed. It illustrates the increasing recognition that social enterprise has in the ‘mainstream’ economy.