Scotland has long been a country that has sought to connect with others. Of course, the nature of connections and relationship change but as the Scottish Government sets out in its international strategy, ‘Vision for Trade’, we now have a focus on trade based on the principles of inclusive growth, wellbeing, sustainability, a just transition to net zero and good governance. It’s a strategy that seems to be paying off as findings shared at the World Forum for Foreign Direct Investment back in May 2022 noted that the approach is attracting investment and driving economic growth.
For those of us in the social enterprise sector we have long believed that we cannot separate social and environmental targets from doing good business. Against this approach then it’s no surprise that social enterprise is a key exemplar, with the Social Enterprise Action Plan making a strong link with internationalisation.1.5m has been committed in the Social Enterprise Action Plan to strengthen the multi-agency approach available to support social enterprises that wish to operate across the globe, and the actions highlighted below demonstrate how this is envisaged.
- Creating a clear pipeline of tailored support for social enterprises from conception to the international market, with a focus on ethical opportunities in emerging markets such as Africa and South East Asia,
- Ensuring that Social enterprises lead the way in delivering Scotland’s Vision for Trade.
- Supporting social enterprises to be involved in strategic Ministerial engagements and a positive influence on the global social enterprise movement;
- Increasing two-way dialogue and learning between Scotland and partner countries;
- Fostering a more conducive environment for international social enterprises willing to locate in Scotland and build their businesses from here;
- Better access to business support, continued funding opportunities through Scottish Development International and learning opportunities for social enterprises moving into international markets, and supporting Scotland as an international destination;
- Strengthening international outlook and leadership within the social enterprise community; and
- A strong role for social enterprise in international development initiatives.
With internationalisation a clear ambition of the Social Enterprise Action Plan CEIS convened key stakeholders who have experience in working and supporting enterprises who work or have ambition to work internationally. Together, they form the steering group for the International Social Enterprise Observatory (ISEO).
As work from the ISEO pushes forward we will be hosting online webinars, sharing case studies and features, and promoting opportunities through the development of our website, newsletter, and social media. For social enterprises looking either to develop from or into Scotland we can provide 1-1 support, either directly, or through one of our partners, and, if you are interested in trading in Scotland or coming to see Scotland and our social enterprise environment for yourself then we are here to help.
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