In Research


Year: 2019
Published in: European Journal of Business and Management,
Cited as: Kah, S. (2019). “The Contribution of the Social Enterprise Sector to the UK Economy.” development 11(20).


Social enterprises contribute significantly to the UK economy. Yet, their collective contributions are a hidden feat. This paper presents the development, scale and scope of these enterprises, followed by a guide to inform opportunities for future research. The investigation provides critical insight into the operational and characteristics of social enterprises from a market with the world’s first largest social investment wholesaler. Secondary data, namely ‘The Future of Business: State of Social Enterprise Survey’ (2017), ‘Social Enterprise UK Impact Report’ (2018), ‘Northern Ireland Third Sector Report’ (2013), ‘Mapping the social business sector in Wales’ (2017) and ‘Social Enterprise Scotland’ (2017) are analysed in NVivo software using content analysis approach. This study found that social enterprises have three forms of contributions: social, economic and environmental. Meanwhile, the areas that emerged for future research are diversity and inclusion, localism, financial performance, service-led sector, employment opportunities, waste management and environmental policies. Due to the nature of the secondary data used, the findings may not be generalisable for all regions. Therefore, future research should employ primary data while utilising a sufficiently large sample to capture the key events in the sector.

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Recommendations from this resource

Future Research

1) the key themes of “Diversity & Inclusion, Localism, Financial performance, Service-led sector, Employment opportunities, Waste management, Environmental policies”
2) consider a broader sample of social enterprise (fairtrade, BCorp, co-operatives and voluntary organisations)
3) the economic sector should be investigated for contextual intelligence. These recommendations points towards an analytical approach to understanding the model of SE. The author acknowledges that there are extant studies on SE and the sustainable model, which support environment goals. However, further research is required to capture the extent of these themes on the growth of SEs, both in the UK and more broadly in the international domain.