Research just published by the GBSLEP (March 2014) offers a level of detail about the social enterprise sector that has never previously been available, underlining just how important the sector is — socially and economically.
Size of the sector
There are an estimated 450-500 social enterprises in Greater Birmingham, with a combined turnover of at least £180m and employing over 14,600 people.
Social enterprise is a growth sector
Staff levels increased by almost 11% during the period 2011-2013 — meaning that about 1,500 jobs were created. Over 72% expect to create additional jobs in 2014 – with a significant proportion of these being for young people. 73% reported an increase in turnover on the previous year and over 67% expect to see growth in 2014.
Trading is now overwhelmingly the greatest source of income for social enterprises. Roughly 86% of social enterprises’ income is earned from trading as opposed to about 14% from grants, donations and ‘other sources’.
Social enterprise is an innovative sector
The introduction of new products or services is often regarded as a proxy for business innovation. Over 78% of social enterprises reported introducing a new service or product in the preceding twelve months.
Social enterprises combine trading, social purpose and voluntary effort to deliver a unique blend of social and economic impact. While there is no single, definitive measure of social value, the survey revealed that social enterprises in the GBSLEP area:
- Invest over £36m a year in achieving their social mission.
- And are supported by over 2,100 volunteers who donate about 450,000 person-hours a year –- time which is worth another £4.73m a year valued at the average West Midlands hourly wage.
→ Follow the links under ‘About Social Enterprise’ on the BSSEC website for more information about social enterprises in Birmingham, social enterprise case studies, and the Digbeth Social Enterprise Qtr.