The spotlight turned to Britain’s 70,000 social enterprises for Social Saturday, a celebration of businesses that do good, on 13 September.
Backed by Prime Minister David Cameron and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, the event took place nationwide for the first time. Last year it was celebrated in Wales.
Social Enterprise UK designed Social Saturday to raise awareness and boost the number of people buying from social enterprises. In the run up to 13 September, consumers were encouraged to switch their purchases and social enterprises supported in holding events and promotions.
The Big Issue, Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, Divine Chocolate and Belu Water were among the high profile social enterprises to put their weight behind the campaign. CASE, an employee-owned co-op which supports social enterprises in Leicester, took a local approach.
“We’re looking at social enterprises local people can buy from,” said marketing officer Nade Townsend. “Rather than the ones everyone knows, we thought we’d take a different angle.”
In the run up to Social Saturday CASE promoted a small social enterprise every day, including Leicester Community Music Project, Sunflower Neighbourhood Nursery, co-operative law firm Kinetic Law Services and Saffron Acres, a co-op which provides educational and volunteering opportunities and empowers people to live more sustainably.
Ms Townsend added: “This year’s all about laying the groundwork, and we’ll build on that next year.”
In Plymouth, a Social Enterprise City, there was fair-trade shopping, free trips up the Grade 1 listed Devenport Column and a book fair at Plymouth Play Association.
Social Enterprise UK says the UK is experiencing a start-up boom, and one in seven start ups is now a social enterprise. The Royal Bank of Scotland’s SE100 index, which tracks the performance of social enterprises, shows they raised £2.9bn for good causes last year.