Brits ignorant of social enterprise

| June 15, 2010
Brits ignorant of social enterprise

More than half of Brits are clueless about the fastest growing sector in the UK economy — social enterprise.

A study by O2 and Social Enterprise Magazine found many people are confused about the difference between a social enterprise and a charity.

Over 50% of those polled wrongly believe social enterprises get most of their income through grants and donations rather than trading.

Just 56% of respondents correctly identified The Big Issue as a social enterprise, while 49% wrongly claimed that housing charity Shelter is a social enterprise.

Three quarters (77%) assumed social enterprises are performing worse than or equal to mainstream small businesses (SMEs).

In truth, social enterprises are outperforming SMEs, with 56% of social enterprises reporting growth during the recession.

Over 60,000 social enterprises operate in the UK, employing more than 55,000 people and contributing £28 billion to the economy.

“Even if you’re not aware of it, you will likely have been a customer of a social enterprise,” said Tom Rippen, founder and CEO of On Purpose, which head-hunts for top social enterprise talent.

“The space covers a vast array of organisations and sub-sectors from enterprising charities to socially-minded businesses.

“They not only create direct value that can be valued in pounds and pence, but also untold social impact, which the economic figures only hint at.”

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