New data from GM social enterprises show how they are building back better communities and strong local economies


Who Knew? We did!

This year's Social Enterprise Day (Nov 19) theme is #WhoKnew - giving entrepreneurs and organisations the opportunity to shout about the impact of their work.

Salford Social Enterprise City is delighted to have supported the GM Social Enterprise Survey 2020 with a data collection which reveals the value the sector contributes to the region.

There are almost 3,500 social enterprises across Greater Manchester, who reinvest between £45-90 million back into the region every year.

The survey was created thanks to funding by Power to ChangeSocial Enterprise UK and The Business Group.

And we helped collect data from Salford social enterprises, which contributed to a total of 140 respondents, along with colleagues in Wigan, Abram Ward Community CooperativeManchester Social Entrepreneurs, and Flourish CIC in Stockport.

The data collection shows:

  • Half of the social enterprises across Greater Manchester are working in education, health, and social care (49%) - which have been vital industries during the pandemic.
  • More than two-thirds of social enterprises work in hyperlocal areas and 41% of social enterprises in Greater Manchester are reinvesting profits in the communities in which they operate.
  • Social enterprises in Greater Manchester work across diverse sectors reflecting the communities that they serve to improve, ranging from manufacturing and agriculture to hospitality, finance, arts, construction, education, health, and social care.
  • One-fifth of social enterprises in Greater Manchester work to improve people’s health and wellbeing, another fifth work directly to support vulnerable people.
  • 94% have at least one woman on their board, 18% have board members that are black or minority ethnic, 33% have disabled people on their board, and 63% of social enterprises have members of the local community on their board.
  • 86% of social enterprises in the region also pay the real Living Wage (rather than the National Living Wage), which is far higher than the private sector and even higher than other social enterprises in the rest of the UK.

Alison Page, chief executive of Salford CVS and one of the lead partners at Salford Social Enterprise City, says:

"Social enterprises across Greater Manchester play an important part in keeping communities together and boosting the local economy - both of which are more important than ever post-pandemic.

"We know the impact of being a social enterprise but we want more people to understand their impact with this data. From credit unions, support services, recycling, and photography, social enterprises make-up almost 3,500 businesses in Greater Manchester.

"That accounts for 4% of all businesses across GM and they are on the rise – with more entrepreneurs becoming socially conscious and community-focused. There have been more than 500 new social enterprise start-ups since November last year - and this is going to continue to grow."

Sheila Murtagh, Salford Credit Union

Meet one Salford social enterprise who is helping create better communities.

Salford Credit Union, which has 3,800 members across the city, has made £1million available to lend to local people in need of affordable credit due to the pandemic, who may otherwise turn to high-cost lenders.

Salford has joined forces with seven other credit unions across Greater Manchester to launch the Covid-19 recovery plan collectively offering a total of £15m in financial support to millions of people across the region.

Sheila Murtagh, chief executive of Salford Credit Union, says: 

“Being a social enterprise means we always put people at the heart of everything we do. This recovery plan is a great example of that. We want to be a part of rebuilding our communities, supporting our people, and lend responsibly. This will also provide a vital boost to our local economy.

“We want to encourage anyone who is struggling financially due to the impact of Covid to speak to us or their community credit union about their borrowing needs. By supporting local people and offering them credit, it will increase spending and keep our economy moving forward, helping all of us to build back better from the impacts being felt by our communities across Greater Manchester due to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Peter Holbrook, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK, says:

“Greater Manchester has a long and proud history in social enterprise development. Entrepreneurs are becoming more and more conscious of how their businesses can build local economies and make improvements to communities and individual’s lives.

“The difference between traditional businesses and social enterprises is that social businesses use all their power and every opportunity to do good, including reinvesting profits back into their communities. This is woven into their DNA.

“This year has been a turbulent one for any business, but so many social enterprises have been at the heart of community responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and hundred’s more have been started since it began. These businesses are playing a big part in keeping communities together and must lead the recovery in 2021."

Learn more about Greater Manchester Social Enterprises and the GM Social Enterprise Survey 2020 here.

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Salford CVS is the city-wide infrastructure organisation for the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector; providing specialist information, advice, development support and opportunities for influence and collaboration.

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