One of the largest international social enterprise events is to take place in Edinburgh in 2018. The Social Enterprise World Forum on 12 – 14 September will see 1,200 delegates from across the globe come together to share expertise on how to tackle inequality, build sustainable communities and create vibrant local economies with the social enterprise model. The Scottish Government and the British Council are partnering on the event.
First held in Scotland in 2008, the Forum brings together social entrepreneurs, support agencies, investors, public, private and government representatives to collaborate, share best practice and plan future developments.
As one of the world’s leading social enterprise nations, Scotland is ideally positioned to host the 2018 event. The 2017 Social Enterprise in Scotland Census shows that more than 5,600 social businesses operate across the length and breadth of the country, contributing £2bn to the economy. And with 64% of these businesses being led by women, the sector is also a leader in gender equality.
All kinds of businesses - large, small, national, local and international - are covered, from Edinburgh-based international development charity Challenges Worldwide to the award winning Shetland Soap Company. The large rural area of the Highlands and Islands is home to just 10% of Scotland's population, yet it alone accounts for 22% of the country’s social enterprises.
Scotland’s social enterprise sector is increasingly part of a global effort for social change and a fairer economy. Social enterprises form part of a wider movement, which includes democratic and member-led enterprises and enterprising charities.
The timing of the 2018 event coincides with the recent publication of the Scottish Government's Social Enterprise Strategy, which was developed through co-production with the social enterprise community in Scotland; and its Internationalising Social Enterprise strategy which aims to put Scotland's social enterprises and the sector's collective knowledge on the world stage.