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Delegation to boost social enterprise overseas

Published: 27/09/2022

Three representatives from the Highlands and Islands will be attending the Social Enterprise World Forum in Australia this week to promote the region’s social economy and attract inward investment.

Three representatives from the Highlands and Islands will be attending the Social Enterprise World Forum in Australia this week to promote the region’s social economy and attract inward investment.

Scottish Government has sponsored a small delegation to attend the event, which takes place in Brisbane on 27-29 September. They will showcase social enterprise in Scotland, which is recognised as a global leader in the sector.

Among the delegation are representatives from Community Land Outer Hebrides, Inspiralba from Kintyre and the head of social enterprise development from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

They will be looking to boost the international reach of the region’s social enterprise sector and attract inward investment from social enterprises overseas.

The Social Enterprise World Forum is held annually at different locations around the world. It examines the conditions needed for social enterprises to thrive, highlighting outstanding examples of innovation in the sector.

Alongside the summit, study visits help delegates gain insight into, and learn from, social enterprises in other countries.

Social enterprises generally operate like most other businesses but have a social and/or environmental purpose at their core. They reinvest all their distributable profit in the pursuit of that purpose.

Margaret McSporran, head of social enterprise at HIE, will deliver presentations at the forum focusing on the role of the public sector in supporting these types of enterprises and the resulting social and economic benefits.

She said:

“The social enterprise model is used around the world to promote equality, benefit the environment, create jobs, develop skills and boost the economy. It has proved particularly effective in addressing social challenges in rural areas, which is why the Highlands and Islands region with around 10% of the population has more than a fifth of Scotland’s social enterprises.

“Our region’s social entrepreneurs are very ambitious and optimistic. The sector is continually expanding and is helping to drive growth in areas such as tourism, creative industries, renewable energy and food and drink.

“I am delighted to be joining Scotland’s delegation this year, along with two of the region’s social enterprises. We will be showcasing the Highlands and Islands and the country for its social enterprise lead, and to help attract social enterprise activity from overseas.”

Scotland hosted the 2018 Social Enterprise World Forum, during which a group of 50 delegates visited the Outer Hebrides for a rural symposium.