29 September 2017

Angela Constance, Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities headed a Scottish delegation in Christchurch, New Zealand on 29th September 2017 at the closing ceremony for the 2017 Social Enterprise World Forum during which she accepted handover of the event, which will next take place on 12-14th September 2018 at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

Equalities Secretary Angela Constance said: “Creating a fairer Scotland is something that I am passionate about. Social enterprises are at the heart of this and fantastic examples of what we want to achieve – reducing inequality, lifting people out of poverty and encouraging more empowered and resilient communities. 

I am proud of all we have achieved, working collaboratively and I look forward to doing even more in the years to come.  We will continue to support social enterprises and will work with social enterprise communities at home and abroad.  I look forward to welcoming the Social Enterprise World Forum back to Scotland next year.” 

Ten years on since the first ever event in Edinburgh, founders of the Social Enterprise World Forum and organisers of the 2018 event, Community Enterprise in Scotland (CEIS) are set to welcome 1,200 delegates from across the globe to the ‘Most Beautiful Country in the World’ as recently voted by the Rough Guides Readers’ Poll 2017. And at the handover ceremony in Christchurch, CEIS and the British Council launched a video to showcase Scotland’s diverse, vibrant social enterprise sector and introduce Edinburgh as the event’s next host city.

Gerry Higgins, CEO, CEIS commented “Since organising the first event in Edinburgh in 2008 we could see there was a real passion to establish social enterprise as a viable business model for non-profits looking for sustainability and entrepreneurs seeking to create businesses that benefit society. Visitors to Scotland in 2018 will engage with our unique Scottish and UK social enterprise scene, where social enterprises and government work together to tackle inequality, build healthy communities and create vibrant local economies. We are preparing to welcome 1200 participants from over 40 countries to Edinburgh in September, as SEWF 2018 provides a unique opportunity for the social enterprise community to collaborate and network in an inspiring and supportive setting”.

A week-long programme of events is being developed to allow delegates to immerse themselves in Scottish culture and the dynamic social enterprise scene.

CEIS are delighted that the Scottish Government and British Council are partnering on the event. Mairi Mackay, Global Head of Social Enterprise, British Council, said, “The work of the British Council in over 100 countries has highlighted the incredible potential and rapidly growing demand for social enterprise solutions that enable more inclusive and prosperous economies. The UK and Scotland are seen as global leaders in developing vibrant social economy ecosystems, and this experience has enabled us to collaborate with policy makers and social entrepreneurs around the world. We look forward to welcoming the global social enterprise community to Edinburgh in 2018 as a key opportunity to enhance our collective progress towards a fairer and more sustainable future.”

For further information and to register for the Social Enterprise World Forum 2018, visit @_SEWF, #SEWF2018



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Jo Seagrave



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About CEIS

Established in 1984, the vision of Community Enterprise in Scotland (CEIS) is to make Scotland a better place to live and work with a more inclusive economy. To realise this CEIS engages with businesses and communities to build capacity and to address inequality. Our social enterprise support is internationally recognised and this work is complemented by business finance, employability services, event management, social research and asset based community development. Our clients include individuals seeking employment, businesses requiring support and public bodies interested in social change. Learn more at www.ceis.org.uk.

About SEWF

Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) was established in 2008 by national social enterprise support agencies seeking a means to advance social enterprise development globally. Bringing together social enterprise practitioners, support agencies, investors, public, private and government representatives, the inaugural event in Edinburgh in 2008 provided a platform to bring together social enterprise leaders and champions from all continents to collaborate, share best practice and plan future developments.

This collaboration raised awareness of social enterprise as an expanding global mechanism for social change and explored the merit of ongoing collaboration for event stakeholders. Subsequent forums were planned and held in Melbourne in 2009 and San Francisco in 2010.

The event quickly gained momentum and recognition as a springboard for progressing the sector and establishing global relations; stimulating local agencies to bid to host the event in South Africa in 2011, Rio de Janeiro in 2012, Calgary in 2013, Seoul in 2014, Milan in 2015, Hong Kong in 2016 and our current event held in Christchurch.

Each event has reflected SEWF’s values of: 

  • Commitment to social justice;
  • Equality of opportunity;
  • Emphasis on education; and
  • Commitment to excellence.

The interest in the event and the legacy it has left in each of the host countries has prompted the SEWF Board to change the role of the company and its objectives from just a committee supporting event hosts but as catalysts for change in the sector.

About Scottish Government

The Scottish Government is committed to realising the full potential of social enterprise; a way of doing business that is great for the economy and great for the people of Scotland.

Over the last decade the Scottish Government has put in place a world-leading ‘eco-system of support’ for social enterprise, with increasing levels of international interest. This system includes specialist business support, spaces for innovation and collaboration, incubators and accelerators, education and leadership programmes and affordable sources of social finance.

In 2016, the Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Justice and Equalities launched ‘Scotland’s Social Enterprise Strategy’, a fully co-produced, ten-year strategy to further strengthen this innovative movement for change.

In 2017, we worked with the sector to identify 92 specific actions to realise these shared ambitions, including doubling the amount of seed capital available to social entrepreneurs and increasing investment in the ‘Social Enterprise in Education’ programme.

About the British Council’s Global Social Enterprise programme

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. Through our Global Social Enterprise programme, we promote the development of social entrepreneurship to help address entrenched social and environmental problems and deliver positive change in our communities and societies. Our work draws on UK experience and expertise and is delivered with local and international partners.  Find out more: www.britishcouncil.org/society/social-enterprise

About Social Enterprise in Scotland

Scotland’s social enterprise sector is part of a global effort towards social change, one that recognises the need for a radically better way of organising the economy for the benefit of all. Scotland’s close association with social enterprise reflects a deep-seated commitment among citizens to create a fairer, more equal society In Scotland. Social enterprises form part of a wider movement that includes democratic and member-led enterprises and enterprising charities. An increasing number of mainstream socially responsible businesses are also making a distinctive contribution to this movement. 

The social enterprise sector now represents an important part of business and community life. The data available from the first ever Social Enterprise in Scotland: Census 2015 and the recent Social Enterprise in Scotland: Census 2017 provides the most comprehensive picture yet of the scale, characteristics and contribution of the sector. It shows more than 5,600 social enterprises currently operating in Scotland. Social enterprises are clustered and more numerous in large urban areas, but also hold a unique importance in rural Scotland where one-third of all social enterprises are located. These social enterprises come in many shapes and sizes, from large national and international businesses to small community enterprises. Social enterprises now operate in almost every part of the economy.

The Scottish Government is committed to realising the full potential of social enterprise; a way of doing business that is great for the economy and great for the people of Scotland. The social enterprise strategy 2016-2026 describes how that potential can be realised. It has been developed through a process of co-production, where the Scottish Government has worked with the social enterprise community to articulate shared ambitions and find ways to deliver on these. 

The strategy that has emerged is both wide-ranging and ambitious in intent. It represents a step-change in the Scottish Government’s long-standing commitment to the social enterprise sector. It will build on Scotland’s already world-leading model of support for the sector.

Launch video for Social Enterprise World Forum 2018 in Edinburgh

This video sets out the social enterprise scene in Scotland and what delegates to the Social Enterprise World Forum 2018 can expect. The video includes interviews with Angela Constance, Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities, Scottish Government; leading social enterprises across Scotland, Gerry Higgins, CEO of CEIS and Founder of SEWF, Mairi Mackay, Global Head of Social Enterprise, British Council and Peter Holbrook, CEO, Social Enterprise UK. To view the video, click here.