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Social enterprises in good health in Scotland thanks to third sector lending growth

3 min read

28 September 2015

More social enterprises are being created in Scotland as welfare cuts strike.

Social enterprises in Scotland have created hundreds of new jobs in the last 12 months, boosted by more investment.

The annual impact study from Social Investment Scotland is set to reveal that enterprises backed by the third sector lender created 454 jobs over the last year.

Firms backed by SIS, which since being founded by the Scottish Government in 2001 has invested £49m in over 200 organisations around Scotland, generated a turnover of £172m, up £22m on the same period last year.

Around £100m of this came from trading income up 50 per cent on last year. A further £55m came from grant funding.

SIS, led by chairman and entrepreneur Nick Kuenssberg, said it had £23m of new or renewed investment commitments for the current financial year.

“We anticipate a further increase once the budgets for the next year are cleared, because there are obviously going to be more welfare spending cuts, which stimulates demand for the kind of services we support,” Kuenssberg said.

Chief executive Alastair Davis said it has been “a huge year”.

He added: “With a wider understanding of what social investment can deliver, more social enterprises and community organisations are turning to this form of finance to help them achieve their social goals. And it’s clear that these goals are being delivered in abundance.”

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The organisations SIS looks to invest in include those which promote employment, good health, positive relationships and quality facilities within their communities.

A recent example was SIS’s investment in a new mountain biking centre, Laggan Wolftrax earlier this month. It was set up as a social enterprise by Laggan Forest Trust, a charity with a trading arm, at Forestry Commission Scotland’s Laggan Wolftrax mountain bike trails.

It includes a bike shop, a café and space to offer conference space and courses in orienteering, bike maintenance and first aid to local schools, colleges and community groups. It has to date created five local jobs.

According to the latest Social Enterprise in Scotland Census, these organisations generate annual income of £3.6bn and employ more than 100,000 people across the country.