Wales’ 10-year plan envisions social enterprise as business model of choice

Social businesses and support agencies in Wales today published their 10-year vision for social enterprise.

Produced with support from the Welsh government, Transforming Wales through social enterprise sets out plans to rebuild and strengthen the movement, and enable it to address the country’s challenges. 

Welsh Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport Lee Waters said social enterprises had “a key role” to play both in the recovery from Covid-19’s economic blow, and in helping to “build back better”.  

As well as growing the social enterprise sector, social values and co-operative principles needed to be “hard-wired… into the DNA of the wider economy”, Waters added. “If this can be done, then there is huge potential for social enterprises and co-operatives to be the business model of choice over the coming years.”

The plan aims to achieve the following by 2030:

  • More people choosing to engage with social enterprises – as customers, employees, volunteers or leaders
  • Social enterprises playing a greater role in tackling climate change and protecting the environment
  • Social enterprises better able to use digital technology for social good
  • Good quality, specialist business support available to all who need it
  • Social enterprises better connected to each other and speaking with a more unified voice
  • Social enterprises adopting Fair Work practices, paying the Living Wage and increasing diversity among employees and volunteers

The time is right to start respecting and trusting social enterprises to deliver real positive change and take on the challenges facing our country

Menna Jones, CEO of social enterprise Antur Waunfawr and spokesperson for group that produced the action plan, said the resilience and response of social entrepreneurs to Covid-19 had been “impressive” and had demonstrated that “the time is right for us to start respecting and trusting social enterprises to deliver real positive change in our communities and take on the social and economic challenges currently facing our country”. 



But the sector needed more support to thrive in the coming decade, she said, including finding ways to encourage more local authorities and public bodies to include social enterprises in their supply chains.

Research published last year found that the social business sector in Wales was worth an estimated £3.18bn – a 34% increase on findings in 2016.

Among the leading social enterprises in the country is Creating Enterprise, named NatWest SE100 Growth Champion in 2019. The community interest company, which maintains properties and helps local people find work and training opportunities, has grown from £500,000 turnover to more than £10m over the last four years. 

Watch our short film about Creating Enterprise.

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Header image: Buy Social campaign message outside Senedd, Welsh Assembly (credit: Wales Co-operative Centre)