Our mission as a national support agency remains focused and ambitious for Social Firms and their people. The services we provide often involve collaboration with a diverse number of partners from all sectors, and we welcome every opportunity to establish an environment in which our members can develop and grow.
If there is anything you cannot find or need more information on please get in touch.
0131 225 4178 email@example.com
of Social Enterprises employ people formerly disadvantaged in the labour market
Social Enterprise in Scotland Census 2017
“As CEO at Scarf I have found being a member of SFS to be of benefit to me and our organisation. SFS have been brilliant at helping us meet other organisations working in the sector and given us opportunities to explore new ways of working and partnerships. On top of this SFS have been able to provide us with a range of practical support from governance issues to future funding opportunities. Being a member of SFS has definitely been a positive experience for us.”
Thane Lawrie, SCARF
Business Development Support
SFS provides business development support to our members across Scotland. Our services are primarily aimed at assisting and supporting the set-up, development and growth of viable commercially focused Social Firms that can offer jobs, training and meaningful work-based experiences to people who face significant barriers to work.
Our team has a depth of experience working within our sector and we have specialist knowledge of Social Firms and Work Integration Social Enterprises which enables us to support, mentor and share learning across our member organisations.
By working with you we can provide specific business advice to assist with your needs and we can broker additional specialist help, where possible, to support your individual business and organisational needs. We do this by working with a range of partners, sector and business contacts; a network and resource our members can call upon at any time.
Contact us for a chat to find out how we can help support your Social Firm development.
Policy and Representation
As the voice of the Social Firms Sector in Scotland, we take every opportunity to champion the work of Social Firms. We campaign and raise awareness of the business model to position Social Firms as an effective solution to increase the employment/improve the employability of people who experience significant barriers to accessing work.
As a member-led organisation we are in a unique position of having a national overview of the Social Firm sector and the key issues and challenges our members faces both at the coalface and at policy level. We engage and rely on our members and encourage and appreciate their feedback/input to inform our work; campaigning for change and improvements in the policy landscape to create the right environment for Social Firms to develop and grow.
As a support agency we aim to ensure that the key role Social Firms play in creating employment and meaningful work experience for people furthest from the labour market is widely recognised and valued.
Social Firms Scotland represents our members in the following areas:
- Social Enterprise Strategy Steering Group
- Social Enterprise Census Steering Group
- Procurement Supplier’s Group
- Third Sector Roundtable on Prevention
- Third Sector Employability Forum
- Learning Disability Employment Task Group
- European Social Entrepreneurship Network
- Social Enterprise Collection Advisory Group – hosted at Yunus Centre, GCU
- Local Engagement with third sector interfaces
- Engagement with NHS Health Scotland
- Social Enterprise and Health Roundtable
- National level engagement with Voluntary Action Scotland
- Campaign where relevant on reserved issues at Westminster
- Strategic engagement with Scottish Government on key policy issues
- Support policy developments on reserved contracts/Community Benefits, Supported Businesses and Social Firms
Information and Advice
Connecting Social Firms
An important part of our role is to connect and network the sector, to allow members to share experience, learn from and trade with each other. We do this in a number of ways:
- Thematic Events and training
- A study visit programme which funds members to visit each other;
- Case Studies about Social Firms
- Promote our members’ products/services, successes and achievements
- Support the collaboration of Social Firms/enterprises
- Encourage Social Firms to trade products with each another
By harnessing the knowledge and expertise within the Social Firms sector, we can create more opportunities for people to engage in valuable forms of work and training.
Acquisition & Mergers
- Acquiring Business 4 Good guide: An introduction to business acquisition for third sector organisations (some of the links don’t work please contact us for more information). A framework providing practical information and learning for organisations considering business acquisition
- An evaluative progress report on the AB4G programme
- We engaged MBA students from the University of Edinburgh to research the views and attitudes of the private investment community on investment into Social Firms
- The initial research on which the AB4G programme was based
Events and Training
In addition to our study visit programme (see connecting Social Firms), we offer members free or subsidised tickets to key social enterprise events. We are always keen to hear from our members on themes and training needs they feel would be valuable to them, without duplicating training that is already available.
Ready for Business
Partnership and Procurement Support
Partnership for Procurement (P4P), is a resource for supporting smaller, locally based third sector organisations and social enterprise(s) open to the idea of partnership working, cross sector / geography collaborations and consortia – aimed at informing and designing ‘better’ local services, scaling up and/or delivering more. P4P delivers a range of practical information and support, for identifying and responding effectively to, emerging commissioning / procurement opportunities.
P4P delivers on the three key priorities set out in Scottish Government’s action plan to take forward the vision of a ‘flourishing social enterprise sector’: stimulate social enterprise activity, develop stronger organisations and realise market opportunity. This initiative, developed in partnership with Social Firms Scotland, Scottish Community Alliance, Co-operative Development Scotland and led by Senscot, has access to a collective membership of around 2000 plus third sector organisations.
The suite of support includes: an on-going programme of engagement, events, surgeries and promotion on the benefits of partnership and consortia working as well as a series of online tools, which will include templates on best practice; tender ready documents; key learning points and checklist of mandatory documents.