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October 23, 2009    

Social enterprise bolsters rural economies

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by David Masters
Social enterprise bolsters rural economies

Research in two rural Scottish towns has found that social enterprise makes up a significant part of the local economy.

A study by the Perth and Kinross Social Economy Partnership (SEP) found that the social economy in the two towns has an annual value of up to £70 million, employs 1,800 people, and engages over 3,000 volunteers.

“These findings from the Economic Development Unit illustrate the importance of Social Enterprise to the local economy and to our communities, and how much it has flourished in recent times,” said Councillor John Kellas, Enterprise & Infrastructure Convener at Perth and Kinross Council.

“Its role is becoming increasingly significant and the Council is committed to supporting its growth,” Kellas added.

In response to the study, Perth and Kinross Council announced an extra £80,000 investment to help develop social enterprise.

Further investments totally £85,500 were secured from the Scottish government and the European Union.

According to Perth and Kinross Council, social enterprise is particularly important for supporting the rural economy.

“In a largely rural area like Perth and Kinross the development of these organisations is particularly important because they have a wide range of benefits, in terms of economic growth, employment and community support,” Kellas said.

Social enterprises are run to benefit people and the environment rather than to generate profit for individuals or shareholders.

Well-known examples of social enterprise include the Big Issue and the Co-operative Group.

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