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November 20, 2009    

Social enterprises thrive in recession

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by David Masters
Social enterprises thrive in recession

Social enterprises continue to thrive despite the economic downturn, according to statistics released this week.

Research by the Social Enterprise Coaltion found that social enterprises are bucking the downward economic trend, with over half increasing their annual turnover since the recession began.

Fewer than 20% of social enterprises have seen their turnover drop.

Two thirds of social enterprises are making a profit, and a further 16% are breaking even.

The study also revealed that social enterprises contribute an annual £8.4 billion to the British economy and employ around 800,000 people.

Reasons respondants gave for starting a social enterprise included wanting to put something back into the community, and making a lasting difference.

Jonathan Bland, chief executive of the Social Enterprise Coalition, said: “This research confirms what we have always believed but until now have not been able to support with evidence – that social enterprise is an ambitious and growing business sector, one that is of real importance to the economy and to society.

“This does not mean that there aren’t challenges - particularly around business support and access to finance - but the results show optimism about the future and ambition for further growth.”

Angela Smith, government minister for the third sector, added: “I am delighted that social enterprises are thriving even in these tough economic times.

“Social enterprises have a key role in society, they contribute to the economy like any other business while at the same time bringing together and empowering communities.”

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