Media Release: Edinburgh Social Enterprise Network launch their new report, ‘Celebrate the good stuff’, today


EDINBURGH Social Enterprise Network (ESEN) has commissioned a report into the impact of social enterprise in the city – titled ‘Celebrate the Good Stuff’, as social enterprises number 200 and rising across the city.

The report reveals that the turnover of the sector has trebled from £44 million to £120 million in two years, with 94 per cent of the sector’s income generated from direct trading up from 75 per cent in 2013. There are also 8,000 people in the city involved in social enterprises as staff, volunteers or trainees.

Commenting on the social enterprise sector boom, Emma Galloway, chair of ESEN, said: “We have seen social enterprise become the model of choice for entrepreneurs who want to effect real change in the society and community.

“As a result of the work of the city’s social enterprises and ESEN, the Business Gateway and the City of Edinburgh Council Economic Development team, more and more people in Edinburgh are both finding out about social enterprise and making the choice to get involved.

Emma added: “New social entrepreneurs are coming from a variety of sources – universities, schools and colleges through to former sole traders wanting to operate their business with an ethical purpose at its very heart.”

The report also relates to the Social Enterprise Strategy for Edinburgh: (2013 – 2018) Enabling Enterprise as it moves into its second year of delivery.

With key highlights including the ‘Buy the Good Stuff’ marketing campaign promoting social enterprises to consumers; the running of Social in the Square, Scotland’s first social enterprise festival as well as initiatives to raise awareness of social enterprise amongst businesses, including the running of social enterprise markets at The Royal Bank of Scotland’s headquarters and social enterprises being invited to speak at the Business Gateway’s monthly Growth Club events.

Susan Harkins, Business Gateway manager, commented: “The study shows the huge range of social enterprises in Edinburgh selling at least 40 different product types and services and many selling outwith the city and overseas as well.

“One of the vital elements to success has been the shift from public sector support to selling to consumers direct – as the social enterprise market has matured.”

Minister for Local Government and Community Empowerment, Marco Biagi, said: “Social enterprises play an important role in supporting communities and delivering quality services, so it’s fantastic to celebrate their success and see them grow and evolve.

“Social enterprises help to improve people’s lives, they can reform public services and give people the chance to be involved in the design and delivery of the services and decisions that affect them.

“The Scottish Government has invested heavily in developing and supporting the sector and we look forward to considering what more we can do to boost social enterprises in the future, as its work is crucial to creating a fairer and more inclusive Scotland.”

Edinburgh’s Economy vice-convenor, Councillor Gordon Munro, said: “Over the last year, we have been calling on the general public to think about how they shop around the city and to consider purchasing from social enterprises.

“It’s clear from these impressive turnover figures that our call to action is working.

“We have a growing number of local businesses which provide great ideas and service, create jobs and support our local economy – all of us should celebrate and show our appreciation for this exciting and entrepreneurial community.”

This study has focussed solely on organisations that meet the Social Enterprise Code and have engaged with ESEN as social enterprises or that have defined themselves as social enterprise.


For Edinburgh Social Enterprise Network information contact:

Linsay Chalmers, Network co-ordinator, Email:

Mobile: 07940 512110

For further press information contact:

Fiona Stewart, Interwoven PR, Email:

Mobile: 07940560453

Note to editors:

Speakers at the event include:

Social enterprise in Scotland, Marco Biagi MSP, Minister for Local Government and Community Empowerment

The contribution of social enterprise to Edinburgh’s economy, Cllr Gordon Munro, Vice Convenor, Economy Committee

Celebrate the Good Stuff, Emma Galloway and Linsay Chalmers, ESEN

Social enterprise snapshots: The Crags Centre, Mind’s Well, Breadshare, Freedom Unlimited, My Adventure

Running a library as a social enterprise: Jim Mclaughlin, Re-Read

 Stalls Social enterprise stalls:  New Caledonian Woodlands; Tiphereth – In A Jar; Hadeel; WHALE Arts and entertainment Sikh Sanjog Ronak Mela drummers.

Key findings from the report::

  • There are at least 200 social enterprises in Edinburgh, up from 120 in 2013.
  • Almost 8,000 people are involved in the running of social enterprises in the city, of which 1,220 are staff, 650 are trainees and over 6,000 are volunteers.
  • The sector has a turnover of £120 million a year, up from £44 million in 2013.
  • 94 per cent of the sector’s income is generated from trading, up from 75 per cent in 2015.
  • Consumers are the main market for 58 per cent of social enterprises up from 41 per cent in 2013.
  • 27 per cent of responding social enterprises are trading arms or projects of larger organisations, down from 40 per cent in 2013

Edinburgh Social Enterprise Network (ESEN) is the membership network for social enterprises in Edinburgh. Established in 2005, the network now has 105 members and a further 100 social enterprises on its books. ESEN provides a range of services to social enterprises including: one-to-one support, networking, information and signposting, promotion and representation. It is a partner in Edinburgh’s Third Sector Interface. Further information can be found on ESEN’s web site:

Buy the Good Stuff‘ is a call to action to the general public to consider how they shop around the city and can really make a difference by purchasing from social enterprises. Over 200 social enterprises are trading in Edinburgh, from cafes and retail, to creative industries and leisure generating income and reinvesting their profits into the community for social or environmental benefits.

Edinburgh was the first place in Scotland to run a marketing campaign to raise awareness of social enterprise shopping with adverts for ‘Buy the Good Stuff’ appearing on the side of eight Lothian Buses.

The Buy the Good Stuff campaign is supported by the City of Edinburgh Council and delivered by Edinburgh Social Enterprise Network.

What is social enterprise? Social enterprise is a way of doing business that benefits the community, society or the environment. Social enterprises must reinvest all of their profits into their social or environmental aims and many also achieve their aims through the way that they run their business, for example by employing people who might otherwise find it difficult to find a job.

Edinburgh Social Enterprise Network uses the criteria for social enterprise set out in the Social Enterprise Code (

The most common legal models for social enterprises are: Companies Ltd by Guarantee, Companies Ltd by Guarantee with Charitable Status, Charities and Community Interest Companies (CICs).

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