Social Enterprise: Statistics from Around the World.

Social Enterprise – is it a trend, a revolution, or something in between?

The fact that most social enterprises fail, won’t ever experience even a fraction of the fame enjoyed by the Airbnbs and Ubers of the world, and are unlikely to exit at any point – isn’t deterring thousands of purpose driven people from giving it a shot.

This should come as no surprise, as the motivators for launching and building a successful social enterprise can be intoxicating. More than ever before, the exciting success stories of social enterprises like Toms, ThankYou Group, Patagonia, Terracycle, and One Acre Fund continue to enchant idealist, consultants, developers and problem-solvers to jump on the entrepreneurial wagon in the hope of creating a commercially viable business that generates significant social impact.

There are numerous theoretical and practical considerations to take into account when starting a social enterprise. One of these is an awareness of social enterprises’ evolving landscape and the limitations of the current system in which it operates.

If we are genuinely committed to the long haul that is social enterprise, it is important to understand its context, impediments and scope. In doing so, we put ourselves in a better position to harness the potential of social entrepreneurship and advocate on its behalf. By understanding what is happening, we can contribute towards designing a more effective system to meet societies most pressing issues.

To help you get started, here are some social enterprise statistics from around the world.

Estimated 20,000 social enterprises, which have grown by 37% over the past 5 years and constitute 2-3% of GDP (2010).

63% self-generated over 50% of their revenues through fees or sales (2014).

57% are less than three years old (2015). 81% describe themselves as having a social purpose, 45% operate to achieve a cultural purpose, 26% work towards employment development, and 27% focus on the environment (2016).

1 out of 4 new enterprises set-up every year are social enterprises.

More than 89% less than 10 years old and 88% in the pilot, start-up, or growth stage (2012). One-third grew by over 50% and only 6% had negative growth (2010).

80% are small-scale enterprises (2012).

21% lack adequate funding (2015).

75% of universities teaching social entrepreneurship (2009). Estimated 78 globally recognised social entrepreneurs operating in the region (2010). 20-30% of business plan competition submissions are social enterprises (2013).

25% have become ‘multi-organisational systems’ – combination of for-profit corporation and non-profit corporation forms (2015).

42% formed in the last 10 years, 54% generated half or more of their income from trading and 60% are led by a woman (2015).

18.1% of the population are pursuing social entrepreneurial activity (2015).

68% are working towards poverty reduction and 48% have environmental objectives (2012).

More likely to be led by women and those from minority ethnic groups (2014). 50% reported a profit, 73% earn more than 75% of their income from trade, and 27% have the public sector as their main source of income (2015).

22% have over $2 million in revenue, 89% were created since 2006 and 90% focus on solving problems at home (2012).

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