Activism

Social enterprise is the business, says Holyrood minister Jeanne Freeman

The social security minister describes the positive impact of social enterprise upon Scotland's economy

They’re out there trading for people and planet, enriching their communities rather than shareholders.

Now social enterprises like The Big Issue have been held up by politicians as the progressive business model traditional companies should aspire to.

“Right now across Scotland social enterprise is shaping economic and civic life,” Scotland’s social security minister Jeanne Freeman told the Social Enterprise Exchange Marketplace in Edinburgh.

She was referring to the fact that women are at the helm of 60 per cent of social enterprises, and the average ratio between the highest and lowest-paid workers is 2.5:1 – as opposed to an average of 130:1 across FTSE100 firms.

Standing in for Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Freeman told the 500-strong gathering at the city’s Corn Exchange that she and her colleagues wanted to see social enterprise becoming “the norm”.

She told delegates from across all areas of business that the ideals of the social enterprise movement, such as paying a living wage and forging connections with their communities, were inspirational. “Many of our other companies and businesses can do much to learn from that,” she said.

Photo credit: Becky Duncan / Open Aye Ltd

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