The Social Enterprise Monitor has been launched revealing that 6.6% of the UK population is engaged in setting up or managing businesses that trade with a social purpose.
The UK research, likely become an annual event, was co-ordinated by Rebecca Harding, senior fellow at London Business School and chief economist at the Work Foundation. Harding said: “Social enterprise is clearly an important driver of wealth and job creation and we now have the numbers to prove it.” The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor is also published by London Business School and is in its fifth year.
The report found that social entrepreneurs and social enterprises create more jobs and have as high or higher turnovers than their mainstream entrepreneurial counterparts. However, much of this activity has shown its greatest expansion in the last three years suggesting the phenomenon is a long way from realising its full social and economic potential.
The report also found that education is typically an important predictor of social entrepreneurial activity; those with higher-level qualifications are more likely to become social entrepreneurs than their less qualified counterparts. Social entrepreneurs tend to be older, employed and on higher incomes than their mainstream counterparts. Levels of social entrepreneurial start-ups are particularly high among mixed white/ Asian, other Asian, black Caribbean and black African communities.
Social entrepreneurship was defined as orthodox businesses with social objectives where surpluses are principally re-invested for that purpose in the business or in the community rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners.