In Members, New Member Interview

EN interviewed Chris Martin, Social Enterprise Scotland’s CEO, to learn more about the organisation, its mission, values, members, partnerships, goals, activities and vision for the future – a vision that not only compasses SES but the future of social entrepreneurship in Europe.

Origins and Evolution

SES, celebrating its 20th anniversary, emerged from a crucial need to bolster support for social enterprises in Scotland. In its nascent stages, the concept of social enterprise was novel, transitioning from community-based initiatives to a more structured approach by the early 2000s. The organization’s primary goal was to amplify the voice of social enterprises, advocating for their recognition and influence in policy-making spheres. Central to SES’s ethos is its commitment to alleviating poverty by championing social enterprise—a vehicle for driving inclusive economic growth.

Defining Social Enterprise in Scotland

SES’s membership criteria are underpinned by distinct characteristics that set social enterprises apart from conventional businesses or charities. Key criteria include an asset lock, ensuring community benefit in asset dissolution, profit redistribution towards mission fulfillment, non-affiliation with public bodies, and democratic governance. With over 6,000 social enterprises in Scotland, SES represents a diverse spectrum, encompassing hyper-local initiatives to internationally recognized ventures.

Empowering Social Entrepreneurs

A significant stride by SES has been the introduction of free membership for social enterprises with turnovers below £250,000, fostering inclusivity and accessibility. This initiative saw an influx of new members, highlighting the importance of reducing barriers to entry. Moreover, SES’s membership predominantly comprises women-led enterprises addressing pressing societal issues like climate action and period poverty.

Future Trajectory

Looking ahead, SES envisions cultivating a vibrant social enterprise movement, aiming to reach a critical mass of 20% among Scotland’s SEs. This entails elevating the profile of social entrepreneurship and fostering synergies with allied movements such as cooperatives and employee-owned businesses. SES is poised to introduce innovative programs like the People and Planet First cerification, creating clarity identifying social enterprises for easier investment.

Euclid Network Partnership: Forging Transnational Collaboration

Joining forces with Euclid Network signifies a strategic move for SES, underscoring the importance of transnational collaboration in an increasingly interconnected world. Through Euclid Network, SES aims to exchange best practices, harness synergies, and explore avenues for partnership with European counterparts. Amidst geopolitical shifts, maintaining ties with Europe is paramount for SES, leveraging shared experiences and fostering cross-border initiatives.

In Conclusion

As SES continues to spearhead social change and economic inclusivity in Scotland, its partnership with Euclid Network heralds a new chapter of collaboration and innovation. Together, we exemplify the power of collective action in advancing the Euroepan social enterprise agenda, forging a path towards a more equitable and sustainable future.

Euclid Network is honored to stand alongside Social Enterprise Scotland on this transformative journey, united in our shared commitment to driving positive social impact across borders.

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