More SMEs choosing to improve society than build profits

A quarter of people are setting up new businesses because they are motivated by a social purpose or cause.

New research from the National Enterprise Network in partnership with UnLtd, the foundation for social entrepreneurs, found that 27 per cent of people who approached enterprise organisations such as Wenta for support are starting up a business with a social or community-based goal.

The research revealed that social entrepreneurs – people tackling social problems by finding entrepreneurial solutions – are becoming increasingly mainstream, and that this should force enterprise organisations to provide adequate and relevant support.

The National Enterprise Network said such specialist support could include information on legal forms, access to social finance and using volunteers.

While mainstream enterprise organisations are supporting social entrepreneurs the research found that nine per cent of business people seeking support said they were not able to access what they needed to develop and sustain social objectives within their businesses.

Cliff Prior, chief executive of UnLtd, said: “There’s a swell of people stepping up to tackle some of society’s greatest problems with entrepreneurial solutions – but they need the right support to start well and thrive. We want enterprise organisations to ensure social entrepreneurs get off to the best start, and this research shows that even more can be done to ensure that potential social entrepreneurs can access the support they need.”

UnLtd said the government also has a role to play to ensure that social entrepreneurs are signposted to the right support. The 2015 Conservative manifesto included a pledge to “give more people the power and support to start their own social enterprise”.

Dawn Whiteley, chief executive of the National Enterprise Network, added: “Our membership has had the view for some time that there is a growing number of those they are helping to start a business who are motivated by much more than just profit. We now want to work with government and others to ensure those entrepreneurs, as well as any others, get all the help and support they need to give them the very best chance of creating businesses which flourish for the longer term”

Regarding the findings, minister for small business, industry and enterprise Anna Soubry said: “The UK is ranked first for policies that support social investment and I am pleased see research reinforcing this.”

Share this story

Close
Menu
Send this to a friend