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Social Enterprise in Numbers

Could social enterprise reform capitalism and solve some of the world’s biggest problems?

By London Business School Review . 08 April 2013

Could social enterprise reform capitalism and solve some of the world’s biggest problems?


Social Enterprise in Numbers

Could social enterprise reform capitalism and solve some of the world’s biggest problems?

 

The three Ps


Many social entrepreneurs pursue a triple bottom line, aiming to deliver social, environmental and economic benefits (people, planet, profit) through the actions of the social enterprise.
 

Global Associations


1981


At the beginning of the 1980s, Bill Drayton founded Ashoka, a global association of social entrepreneurs. Since then this US headquartered organisation has elected some 3,000 leading social entrepreneurs as Ashoka Fellows, in over 70 countries, providing them with living stipends and professional support. Ashoka says that just over 80% of their Fellows have "changed a system at a national level in at least one way within 10 years of election".


Source: www.ashoka.org
 

Enterprising numbers


68,000


The approximate number of social enterprises in the UK economy.


Source: Annual Survey of Small Businesses, UK 2010
 

Measured results


£24billion


The amount that social enterprise is said to contribute annually to the UK economy measured as Gross Value Added.


Source: Annual Survey of Small Businesses, UK 2010


Social workforce


c. 800,000


Number of people working in UK social enterprises.


Source: Annual Survey of Small Businesses, UK 2010
 

Zero consensus?


With little consensus globally on how terms like social enterprise should be defined, or even if they are the appropriate terms at all, sector figures vary considerably. Some sources, for example, suggest there are about 213,000 broadly defined social enterprises in the UK, contributing £91.7bn to GDP each year.


Source: www.deltaeconomics.com
 

Trading places


£600 million


Big Society Capital, the world's first 'social investment market builder' was launched by the UK government in April 2012. The independent organisation was capitalised with £600 million to invest in social enterprise via social investment finance intermediaries.


Source: www.bigsocietycapital.com
 

Measured results


$11.35 billion


The total amount of money disbursed by social enterprise Grameen Bank in microcredit loans as of October 2011. The Bangladesh-based bank was started in the 1970s by Nobel Peace Prize winnerMuhammad Yunus, a pioneer of the microcredit methodology. Of the 8.35 million borrowers, 96% are women, and the borrowers own 95% of the bank. The loan recovery rate is just over 96%.


Source: www.grameen-info.org


Money Men


1944

Some argue that the origins of social enterprise lie in the groups like the Diggers Protestant nonconformists led by Gerrard Winstanley in England in the 17th century. A more obvious connection, though, is with the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers, founded in 1844, the prototype for the co-operative movement.

 

36 million


The number of subscribers to Grameenphone's mobile phone network in Bangladesh (one of the world's poorest nations). The endeavours of this social enterprise mean that 99% of the country's population, much of it rural, is within its EDGE/GPRS enabled network coverage.


Source: www.grameenphone.com
 

$250 million


Since its formation in 1999, the US-based Skoll Foundation has awarded over $250 million to individual social entrepreneurs, social enterprises and other "organisations creating a brighter future for underserved communities". The Foundation was started by Jeff Skoll, philanthropist, social entrepreneur, and former president of eBay.


Source: www.skollfoundation.org

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