Social enterprises could play a greater role in Wales’s economic development
The National Assembly for Wales’s Enterprise and Learning Committee has published a report calling for better utilisation of the social enterprise sector in Wales.
The inquiry from the cross-party group of AMs found that the sector – made up of businesses with social objectives – could provide innovative solutions to delivering services in a tight economic climate but is not being exploited by the Welsh Government.
It recommends that Welsh Ministers bring social enterprise into the Department for the Economy and Transport, to give the sector more impetus.
The Committee also questions the adequacy of financial and business support for social entrepreneurs, recommending that more accessible and comprehensive start-up and development support should be available.
The report calls on the Welsh Government to do more to create an environment that encourages the identification and development of social entrepreneurs, such as factoring social entrepreneurship into schools’ and universities’ careers advice and work experience programmes.
During its inquiry the Committee heard of the success of Glas Cymru, a social enterprise formed to own, finance and manage Welsh Water (Dŵr Cymru).
It recommends that Welsh Ministers continue to explore the transferability of the Glas Cymru business model and raise awareness of its benefits among key decision-makers.
Committee Chair, Gareth Jones AM, said: “Social enterprises have the potential to develop innovative solutions to delivering positive economic, environmental, cultural and social outcomes in Wales.
“Social enterprises fit well with the values of Welsh communities and we believe that there are opportunities for this kind of business model to make a far greater contribution to economic development than is currently the case.
“Our inquiry shows that this sector needs support to overcome barriers to growth, and we hope our recommendations go some way to realising the potential of this creative and dynamic sector and helping develop a strong and sustainable Welsh economy.”
Source: National Assembly for Wales