Biggest survey of UK social enterprises reveals outstanding growth and almost £1bn of profits

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The seventh annual NatWest SE100 Data Report for UK social enterprises is being launched today at the Beyond Good Business Conference in London.

The report is the biggest survey of the UK social enterprise sector’s turnover, growth, profitability and employment to date and compiles data from 2,120 social enterprises with a total turnover of £8.5bn contributed to UK GDP. It reveals a sector that continues to go from strength to strength, with impressive growth and almost £1bn in combined profits.

Key findings from the report are:

  • The social enterprise sector is growing strongly – with average year-on-year growth in turnover for the established social enterprises on the Index of 61%1
  • The leading social enterprises are growing at a phenomenal rate with average year-on-year growth of the 100 fastest growing enterprises of 932%2
  • 57% of social enterprises reported growth in their turnover with just under 2% reporting turnover was consistent and just under 42% reported negative growth
  • Social enterprises on the NatWest SE100 Index reported a combined total of £934m in profit, with a significant proportion of this profit used to further their social or environmental goals
  • 60% reported a profit and 40% reported a loss.

The report also suggests that as social enterprises mature, we can expect them to grow into multi-million pound ventures. The average turnover of enterprises under three years old on the Index is £634,000 whilst the average turnover of enterprises which are ten years old or more is £8m. 

In fact the biggest 100 enterprises (by turnover) handle most of the money that passes through the NatWest SE100 Index. The total turnover of the biggest 100 enterprises is £6.5bn which represents 76% of the total turnover of the whole Index.

The report also reveals trends from the sector across England, with the South West of England demonstrating the highest growth, whilst London hosts the highest proportion of social enterprises from the Index, with the largest total turnover of £2.3bn.

Mark Parsons, Head of Community Finance and Social Enterprise, RBS, said: “The NatWest SE100 report reveals a social enterprise sector which is growing in both strength and maturity. As social enterprises continue to make a sustainable social impact to both disadvantaged and marginalised groups, they should feel buoyed by the positive news that year on year growth in turnover for established enterprises was 61%, whilst the Index also reveals social enterprises grow as they mature.

“Although the latest NatWest SE100 Index has revealed positive trends for the sector, it is only when you take a closer look at the inspirational work social enterprises delivers, that the true impact of the sector can be appreciated.”

To read more about the report, visit Pioneers Post.