Social Enterprise

What is social enterprise?

CTSI promote social enterprise as a model of doing business and offer a range of services to support individuals and organisations at all stages of development. This includes support for any third sector organisations that would like to explore becoming more socially enterprising to support their long term sustainability.

What is social enterprise?

Social enterprise is a way of operating a business where trading activities are carried out primarily to fulfil social or environmental aims and objectives, with any profit or surplus generated, reinvested back into the business; rather than to provide dividends to directors or shareholders. Social enterprise is a business model and may adopt one of a range of different legal structures to operate within, depending on the type and nature of the products or services offered.

Social Enterprise Census in Scotland 2015

Social enterprise is becoming increasing popular with approximately 5000 enterprises currently in operation across all business sectors in Scotland. The first ever Social Enterprise Census in Scotland carried out in 2015 highlighted that the combined economic contribution of social enterprises in Scotland is some £1.68bn annually. The full census report can be downloaded here

Building on the findings set out in the 2015 Social Enterprise Census baseline report, the 2017 Social Enterprise Census represents the most comprehensive analysis yet of social enterprise activity anywhere in the world. This involved the screening of some 20,000 organisations against agreed definitional criteria; the analysis of financial data from the public accounts of 4,439 social enterprises, and the analysis of 1351 responses from a representative survey of Scotland’s social enterprises. The full Census report can be accessed here.

Scotland’s Social Enterprise Strategy 2016 -2026

The Scottish Government has jointly developed a ten-year, national social enterprise strategy with the social enterprise sector, which sets out shared ambitions for social enterprise in Scotland, and provides a framework for action over the next decade. The full strategy document can be downloaded here


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  • If people want to learn something new, we enable that to happen by giving them the training and skills – and along the way they get good company and a sense of achievement from what they have made
    Archie Scott Committee member, Wee County Crafters
  • I get a lot of satisfaction as an RSVP volunteer and I would recommend getting involved. Volunteering Matters to me because of the impact it can have on our community and making a difference to peoples lives. It gives me the opportunity to keep active and to contribute to my community in retirement.
    Bob Kerr Handyperson, Volunteering Matters
  • Deciding to befriend was undoubtedly one of the best decisions I have ever made - we both get so much out of it. I look forward to spending time with her every week and we are always commenting on how much we have in common! Loneliness is something that can affect anyone at any time, and it is projects like this that are so important in helping to stop it. I would recommend befriending to anyone – even if they are feeling apprehensive like I was – as the benefits to the person you are matched with and yourself are endless
    Katie Wardlaw Befriender, Volunteering Matters
  • It has been a good transition from working full time to volunteering. I had not done anything like this since my children were young as I worked full time for a long time but now I feel I can give something back to the community – and I am really enjoying this role. It is a great fit
    Mary Quigley Mary Quigley, Driver/Group Assistant, The Friendship Club
  • I love the variety of work at Play Alloa – there is always something different going on – answering the phone, preparing for the Christmas fayre, parent information evenings, helping with surgeries and providing information for parents. I have really enjoyed being part of a team – everyone helps and supports each other
    Julie Milligan Administration Volunteer, Play Alloa