The social business sector in Wales is worth an estimated £3.18bn to the Welsh economy – a 34% increase on 2016, according to a new report.
The Mapping the Social Business Sector in Wales report identified a total of 2,022 social businesses in Wales, employing around 55,000 people and providing volunteering opportunities to an estimated 58,000 individuals – with 15% of these businesses operating as co-ops.
Commissioned and published by Social Business Wales, the report found that around a quarter of these businesses invest their profits in their social objectives and more than three quarters pay the Real Living Wage to all their staff, compared to 48% of Welsh SMEs.
The findings are based on survey data from 699 social businesses, with the aim of providing an up-to-date outline of the sector; including its size, composition and contribution to the Welsh economy.
The report also found that improving communities remains the primary objective for social businesses, as well as supporting vulnerable people and improving health and wellbeing. Social businesses are found in areas of social deprivation, supporting communities, offering jobs and training – often providing services that the public and private sectors would struggle to maintain.
Derek Walker, chief executive of Wales Co-operative Centre, which delivers the Social Business Wales project, said: “This report demonstrates that the social business sector is a varied and innovative sector, which offers enhanced economic, environmental and social value to our country and as such makes an important contribution to Wales’ efforts to achieve its goals for future generations.”
Lee Waters, Welsh deputy minister for economy and transport, said: “Social businesses are embedded within their communities and they are driven by those communities. They deliver good jobs, closer to home, where communities need them. Social businesses work actively to address local issues through trading and then reinvesting the income they earn into the things that matter to them.”
The executive summary, case study supplement and full report can be viewed here.
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