There is something distinctive about rural social enterprise. Figures from the Social Enterprise in Scotland Survey 2019 show that:
- Scotland’s rural and remote areas have 33% of all social enterprises in Scotland and yet just 17% of the population.
- There are 23 social enterprises per 10,000 people in rural areas compared to 9 in urban areas.
- The top regions per 10,000 of population are islands:(Shetland 47, Nan Eilean Siar 45, Orkney 31).
- 24% of all rural social enterprises cover a neighbourhood/ community and are accountable to people in that area.
- 37% report starting trading in response to market failure.
While social enterprises in rural areas are diverse, they face particular challenges in terms of logistics, costs, market size, demographic change and the withdrawal of /public services.
At the same time opportunities are presented by natural resources, the tradition of enterprising communities and collective leadership. In many areas, small, locally focused social enterprises play a crucial role in sustaining vital services for rural communities.
Recognising an opportunity to learn from the rural experience, the Scottish Government provide a small amount of funding to Inspiralba to support the Rural Social Enterprise Hub.
- Works collaboratively to build the knowledge base on rural social enterprise and the unique characteristics that allow rural areas to develop enterprising solutions to the challenges they face.
- Develops opportunities for peer to peer learning and knowledge exchangenationally and internationally.
- Supports networking for social enterprises across rural Scotland and further afield.
- Identifies learning in relation to the broader agenda of inclusive growth, community wealth building and the wellbeing economy.
A report on our first 18 months work is available here: