91% Women Leaders in SE's
Susan Allen, Chief Executive, Customer Solutions Group, The Royal Bank of Scotland, said:
“We’re delighted to be supporting this report as part of our long-standing partnership with Social Enterprise UK. RBS has been working with the social enterprise sector for over 10 years and it has been fascinating to see it develop into what we see today.
“It is particularly striking to see the diversity of both the leadership and workforce of social enterprise. It seems that the sector is not just “changing the way we do business” but also changing ‘who’ does business. This report shows some impressive growth and optimism within the sector and highlights some areas where, arguably, social enterprise is leading the way for how to do business in the 21st century.”
SE Report’s Key findings
- Close to a third of all social enterprises are three years old or younger, with three times the start-up proportion of traditional SMEs. This is a trend that has increased since the 2011 survey.
- 11% of social enterprises export or licence abroad – and the newer start-up social enterprises are more likely to export than established social enterprises.
- Social enterprises are very heavily concentrated in the UK’s most deprived communities. 38% of all social enterprises work in the most deprived 20% of communities in the UK, compared to 12% of traditional SMEs.
- Social enterprises are far more likely to be led by women than mainstream businesses. 38% of social enterprises have a female leader, compared with 19% of SMEs and 3% of FTSE 100 companies.
- 91% of social enterprises have at least one woman on their leadership team. 49% of mainstream SMEs have all-male directors.
- 56% of social enterprises developed a new product or service in the last 12 months compared to 43% of SMEs. New product or service development is often used as a proxy-indicator of business innovation.
- 15% of social enterprise leaders are from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities. 28% of social enterprise leadership teams have BAME directors. Only 11% of SMEs report having directors from a BAME background.
- Business optimism has improved since our 2011 survey, with 63% of respondents expecting their turnover to increase in the next two to three years – compared to 57% two years ago. Only 37% of SMEs expect their turnover to grow.
- 38% of social enterprises saw an increase in turnover compared with 29% of SMEs, in the last year. This means that proportionally, almost a third more social enterprises grew based on turnover last year than SMEs.
- 22% of social enterprises experienced a decrease in turnover in the last year compared with 31% of SMEs.
- Our 2011 survey called for decisive action over concerns that 25% of social enterprises that worked mainly with the public sector cited procurement policy as a principal barrier to their sustainability. In 2013, that figure stands at 34%.
- The most common (32%) main source of income for social enterprises is trade with the general public. Close to half of all social enterprises now trade with the private sector too.
- The proportion of social enterprises that trade with the public sector is increasing – and attracting a higher proportion of social enterprise start-ups. Over half (52%) of social enterprises do some trade with the public sector – twice the proportion of SMEs (26%).
- Twice as many social enterprises (48%) as SMEs sought finance in the past 12 months and 39% cited access to finance as the single largest barrier to their growth and sustainability – the most common barrier experienced.
- The median amount of finance sought by social enterprise was £58,000 – below the minimum thresholds of many specialist social investment vehicles.
 BMG Research were contracted to carry out the survey fieldwork: A total of 878 responses were gathered both online and via telephone interviews with social enterprises, in February and March 2013.
 Comparisons have been made with SMEs in the Small Business Survey 2012: SME Employers, commissioned by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, (March 2013). Available at www.gov.uk/government/publications/small-business-survey-2012-sme-employers. Measures have been applied to ensure that comparisons are as commensurate as possible.
 Robert Half FTSE 100 CEO Tracker (2013). Available at www.roberthalf.co.uk/id/PR-03593/FTSE-100-Companies-UK-Press-Release
 Social Enterprise: Market Trends (Based upon 2012 Small Business Survey), Cabinet Office (May 2013). Available at www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/205291/Social_Enterprises_Market_Trends_-_report_v1.pdf