In Research


Year: 2015
Cited as: Roy, M.J., McHugh, N., Huckfield, L. et al. “The Most Supportive Environment in the World”? Tracing the Development of an Institutional ‘Ecosystem’ for Social Enterprise. Voluntas 26, 777–800 (2015).


Social enterprise, Scotland, Historical institutionalism, Political devolution, UK


While numerous accounts of policy frameworks associated with country-level support for social enterprise activity exist, explanations for when, why and how policy interventions in support of social enterprise have been adopted have been, to date, much more thin on the ground. This paper aims to contribute to addressing this perceived gap by presenting the case of Scotland, recently hailed by First Minister Alex Salmond as “the most supportive environment in the world for social enterprise”. Historical Institutionalism is used to explain how such a ‘supportive environment’ might have come about and, looking at, in turn, when, why and how the conditions for social enterprise in Scotland have developed, we attempt to contribute to the ongoing international debate concerning the importance of the policy environment to fostering the conditions for social enterprise activity not only to emerge, but also to thrive.


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