Trends in Social Enterprise during the Economic Recession

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I was recently asked to sit on a panel at the IED (Institute of Economic Development) Conference and share my thoughts on what social enterprises are doing to survive the economic recession. So I thought I would share with you a few of my thoughts and I would welcome any of your comments.

I feel we are going to continue to see sustainability and maybe even growth within a number of key market sectors for social enterprise, particularly within health and well-being, leisure and recreation, education and learning, environmental and renewal, and the creative industry over the next couple of years in line with consumer and political interests.

In all sectors we are going to see an increase in competition for long term public and private sector contracts as social enterpries look to secure solid funding to help them ride over the next two years.

To help them manage and streamline resources we will probably see an increase in mergers and collaborations as organisations cut costs and improve their efficiency as they have to compete on costs to secure public money.

In light of the talent pool available, I think social enterprises have a real opportunity to attract highly skilled individuals to work in social enterprises at the moment. With a lack of corporate jobs available, skilled professionals will consider taking a pay cut and convert to the greener side of business, so it's a perfect time to capture people as volunteers, consultants or employees.

As companies strive to survive, competition will be rife. Having a relavent and refined sales and marketing strategy is of prime importance. Social enterprises will need to be at the top of their game. If they aren't competing on price, then they need to think about what are they competing product or service innovation, customer service, ethical credentials and utilise cause related marketing.

The underlying quesion is do social enterprises have the right business model in place to compete on operations, skilled resources, marketing and sales and are they distinguished from their competitors.

It's important to keep pace... i'd appreciate your comments or thoughts below. If you would like my help to develop your business strategy then email me at

Best Wishes