HOME Office Minister Hazel Blears told the Social Enterprise Greater Manchester conference that enterprises can make a difference across Government and that many departments are ready to embrace its benefits.
She said: "My department recently began a consultation on policing and community safety ? trying to make our neighbourhoods safer. While we may be looking more at deprived areas some examples can be used across all communities.
"Social enterprises can get involved in crime reduction services. There are already many examples I have seen. There is a project in Leicestershire where a group is going round to elderly peoples' homes and installing alarms and locks.
"In Liverpool one person has got a job by ?smart-marking' valuables in the home. If anything is stolen then there is a better chance of it being returned.
"But one of the most important things to come out of this is that these ideas are creating jobs and a sustainable environment," said Ms Blears.
"Social enterprises can work for other sectors such as education, with the DTI or the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs ? there are endless social enterprise opportunities. Many departments already recognise social enterprises and their benefits."
However Jonathan Bland, Chief Executive of the Social Enterprise Coalition, said that the sector still needs to eliminate many obstacles,
He told delegates: "There is not a problem with social enterprises, it is with the procurers, the local authorities. They have to realise not to put cost before benefit.
"They can create jobs that bring a sustainable community, but we need to work on these people to get them to notice us. We need to encourage civil servants to open their eyes."
"An example of a market we can penetrate is the NHS. Each year it spends £ 305 million on 505,000,000 meals. There is a potential for social enterprises to provide a range of meals for the NHS. That is just one chunk we can provide for. There are many others including primary care and long-term care," he concluded.