Interesting evidence on social enterprises

One last post on the King’s Fund’s report on social enterprises, following one on Big Beasts versus Social Enterprises and another on Wider Lessons for DPULOs from social enterprises.

This one covers interesting evidence regarding social enterprises:

  • Literature from the private sector is predominantly supportive of employee ownership, and suggests that there is a positive link between employee ownership and productivity, innovation and job satisfaction. This literature is based on the argument that, by giving employees a stake in their organisation, they will be more engaged and potentially more productive.
  • Employee ownership may slow down decision-making and generate a risk-averse culture.
  • Productivity gains within social enterprises are thought not to be immediate, but become stronger over time.
  • In commercial industries, employee-owned firms tend to have a lower risk of failure. They are able to create jobs quickly, and are at least as profitable when compared to conventionally structured businesses.
  • At times of difficulty, social enterprises have been resilient and optimistic: a survey by the Social Enterprise Coalition (2009) found that social enterprises were twice as confident of future growth compared with small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) (48 per cent as opposed to 24 per cent of SMEs). Additionally, since the recession began, 56 per cent of social enterprises have increased their turnover from the previous year (compared with 28 per cent of SMEs).
  • Analysis and subsequent cost values attributed to five social enterprises by the Department of Health identified that, for every £1 of investment, there was a social return from social enterprises of between £2.52 and £5.67. Similarly, analysis by Frontier Economics (2011) demonstrated that the social return on investment for Whizz-Kidz (a social enterprise that provides mobility equipment to children with disabilities) generates between £10 and £65 of social return for every £1 investment.

It would be great if people could share any similar information or research they know about regarding user-led organisations (particularly those led by disabled people).


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Man of letters & numbers; also occasionally of action. Husband to NTW. Dad of three. Friendly geek.

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