THE Scottish social enterprise sector’s net worth has seen growth of 22 per cent in two years to £6.1 billion, new figures reveal.

The Social Enterprise in Scotland: Census 2019 report, funded by the Scottish Government, highlights a consistent rate of growth in the number of social enterprises over the past four years, with an estimated 6,025 social enterprises actively operating.

Growth in the total number of social enterprises has been 8% every two years since the first biannual census in 2015 and the sector’s economic contribution has grown by 13% since 2017 to £2.3bn in GVA in 2019.

Wider financial performance also remains strong, with significant growth in net worth at £6.1bn, 22% growth since 2017, and annual income generated of £4.4bn, 16% growth in two years.

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Other findings show 75% of social enterprises pay their employees at least a living wage, which has increased from 68% in 2015.

The report also showed that women lead 65% of social enterprises, 76% of such businesses identify that their companies started due to gaps in local service and 79% of all social enterprises trade directly with consumers, an increase from 68% in 2015.

It said that geographic coverage that remains diverse with 33% of social enterprises operating in rural communities, and 20% of all such businesses are in remote rural communities, which only account for 6% of Scotland’s population.

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Aileen Campbell, cabinet secretary for communities and local government, announced the report’s findings at the annual Community Enterprise in Scotland policy and practice conference in Glasgow.

Ms Campbell challenged the social enterprise sector “to understand, and maximise its important contribution to the development of a wellbeing economy here in Scotland”.

She also said that “the Scottish Government is committed to working closely with third sector intermediaries to understand key issues and develop plans collaboratively”.