Scottish Parliament

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Live coverage from the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood, with the parliament's Economy Committee taking evidence on social enterprises in Scotland.

MSPs are quizzing Alastair Davis from Social Investment Scotland; Ewan Fraser from Dunedin Canmore Group; Karen McGregor from Firstport; Neil McLean from Social Enterprise Academy; Andrew Nixseaman from the Calman Trust;

Duncan Osler from Social Enterprise Scotland; Fiona Pearson from West Lothian Social Enterprise Network and Brian Weaver from Highlands and Islands Social Enterprise Zone.

A 'social enterprise' has a social or environmental mission at the centre of their operations.

Social enterprises are businesses; they sell goods or services and aim for profitability.

Where they differ from other firms is that profits are reinvested for the benefit of the communities they serve rather than distributed amongst employees or shareholders for private gain.

According to research by the Big Lottery Fund, Glasgow Social Enterprise Network (GSEN) and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

The Big Lottery Fund/EKOS mapping study states there are 3,547 social enterprises in Scotland, with total turnover of £6.9 billion, employing 120,900 people (FTE).

The Christie Commission report (2011) found that 'government remains the dominant architect and provider of public services… contributions from other sources are under-developed.

Individuals, communities, businesses, voluntary organisations, social enterprises and charities all have resources and capacities that could be utilised more fully'.

The 'sustainable procurement duty' contained in the recently passed Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act provides that a public body should consider how the procurement process can 'facilitate the involvement of SMEs, third sector bodies and supported businesses' with the aim of making it easier for such businesses to access public contract opportunities and sub-contracting requirements. The increasing use of community benefit clauses in public procurement is one way of opening up more contracts to social enterprises.

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