Scotland’s Social Enterprise Strategy 2016-2026

Published in 2016, this lays out the ten-year national strategy for social enterprise in Scotland – setting out shared ambitions for social enterprise in Scotland. This document has seven references to rural communities and two to island communities.


Page 9, highlights the rich and varied pattern of social enterprises across the country, stating that they are ‘clustered and more numerous in urban areas but also hold a unique importance in rural Scotland where one third of all social enterprises are located’.

Page 15, considers the contribution that social enterprises make to place and regional cohesion:

The impact of social enterprise is particularly pronounced in the Highlands and Islands region where the sector plays a key part in a balanced economic strategy for the region. Our investment in social enterprise can therefore help to ensure that more parts of the country are benefiting from economic growth and prosperity while supporting rural development, protecting fragile communities and promoting the Gaelic language.

Page 18, covers the role of co-operative and community led enterprises in supporting community -led regeneration:

By supporting more locally controlled enterprises, we can enable communities to take on the ownership of viable physical assets, help people to organise and respond to challenges in places where capacity if currently low and create community anchor organisations that can lead to long-term regeneration. This supports our priorities for Scotland’s cities, town centres, rural and island communities.

Page 22 highlights the ambition for the growth of the movement;

During the next ten years, social enterprise will catch hold in every part of Scotland taking seed in disadvantaged urban areas as well as rural communities.

Further references on Page 37 cover the fact that leadership training has been rolled out to social enterprises in urban and rural areas and on Page 48 that a focus group with rural social enterprises in Argyll and Bute was held to inform the strategy together with specific consultation with stakeholders representing island communities.


Read the strategy here: Scotland’s Social Enterprise Strategy 2016-2026