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April 5, 2017

SIS break the Code

There’s no doubting the Scottish Government’s commitment to social enterprise. There can’t be many areas of government policy that are underpinned by a 10 year strategy. Not so very long ago, the whole idea of social enterprise was virtually unheard of but now it’s the new normal. As a concept it’s always been difficult to define although most folk seem content with the Code. That said, for some reason, SIS have recently declared that social enterprise must open its doors to those who pursue profit for private gain. A very strange call.

Alistair Davis, SIS

Dear stakeholder

For a long time, entrepreneurs in Scotland have been faced with a binary choice – between profit and purpose. A focus on purpose meant surrendering all but the most limited of profit; and focussing on both resulted in exclusion from the socialenterprise ecosystem.

But these conventions are increasingly being challenged, particularly by the next generation of mission-led entrepreneurs and consumers, who see profit and purpose not as a choice but as a symbiotic relationship. Almost nine in 10 (87%) of millennials believe that “the success of a business should be measured in terms of more than just its financial performance.” Deloitte Millennial Survey 2016.

This continual innovation in business models means that those organisations set up to support and invest in them must also continue to innovate, and SIS is no exception. That’s why, with the support of the Scottish Government, SIS is launching a new programme of engagement with the entrepreneurial ecosystem to help it understand how profit and purpose can co-exist to drive even greater business success and a more inclusive economy. Our aim is to ensure that entrepreneurs and businesses can see their social and environmental impact recognised, encouraged, supported and reported effectively.

Whilst this does represent a strategic development for SIS, it does not mean that we are abandoning those charities and social enterprises that may have chosen an asset lock as the most appropriate way of running their business. Providing investment and support to charities and social enterprises will continue to be right at the heart of our business, but a business that is more inclusive and recognises mission-led entrepreneurship right across the entrepreneurial spectrum. 

Very best


Alastair Davis

Chief Executive