Global business giant Deloitte demands boost in support for UK social businesses


Global business advisor Deloitte has called for significant support from British business and government to help UK social enterprises fulfil their growth potential.

The firm made the call following interviews with its 30 newly annointed Social Innovation Pioneers – social businesses recruited from across the UK for their potential for both innovation and growth.

Deloitte said social enterprises were ‘already evidencing their potential to compete alongside conventional businesses and deliver high impact economic and social benefit’.

But more support was needed – including preparing for and securing external investment.

‘Whilst the pioneers are optimistic about the future of one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK, there is frustration amongst these businesses about barriers to playing a bigger role in the mainstream economy,’ Deloitte revealed. 

The pioneers identified five important areas where they require tailored support:

  • Help to develop and implement growth strategies
  • Financial advice and preparation for external investment
  • Branding, marketing and customer strategy to target new customer segments
  • Development of processes to drive efficiency in delivery
  • Mentoring, leadership training and human resources expertise.

One of the 30 pioneers, Duncan Goose, CEO of Global Ethics, which produces consumer goods under the ‘One’ brand, said: ‘One of the reasons social enterprises haven’t been able to reach their full potential is because help, advice and investment isn’t readily available for established social businesses that want to grow their business further.

‘Investment and support from larger companies, who are truly prepared to step away from the norms of charity or business models, would not only help them increase their social impact, but would also help these businesses to break into the mainstream.’

Speaking at the pioneer programme’s launch event this week, Heather Hancock, managing partner for talent and brand at Deloitte, said: ‘We are excited about the potential this sector has already demonstrated, and what it is capable of for the future. It is very important for the UK business community to recognise the impact that social enterprises can have and embrace them as part of the business community. 

She continued: ‘There are many benefits to be gained – we’ve seen the innovation generated from social enterprises, their positive contribution in the supply chain and in service delivery, and they are demonstrable evidence that business is and continues to be a force for good. Our research shows that CEOs across all sectors measure their business impact by more than just profit and want their organisations to be part of shaping a better society. Working with social enterprises can be a valuable part of this commitment.’

Deloitte’s Social Innovation Pioneers programme provides over £1.5m of tailored support to the group of 30 social businesses identified as leaders in this sector.  The support includes a relationship team to support each Pioneer with bespoke mentoring and guidance from senior advisers who specialise in a specific market area or growth challenge. In addition, there is a programme of briefings and workshops on common issues such as investment readiness and leadership, assisted by programme partners Social Enterprise UKBig Issue Invest,London Business SchoolWavelength and Matter&Co

The 30 Pioneers come from across the UK and a variety of sectors and have revenues ranging from £125,000 to £26m, with a total annual turnover of almost £80m.

Goose added: ‘To be considered a pioneer of social innovation by Deloitte is a huge honour and the team are excited about all the opportunities it will present as the partnership develops. With our vision and ambitious goals, and their support and guidance I truly believe we will effect faster and larger social change.’

For more information on the Deloitte Social Innovation Pioneers programme, please