The most recent survey of social enterprise in Scotland (Social Value Lab 2019) identifies some vital statistics about rural social enterprise in Scotland.
While social enterprises in rural areas are diverse, a rural focus group held in Oban in March 2019 recognised that the rural context provides particular challenges and opportunities for social enterprise. Challenges include logistics and costs to deliver in the rural context, the withdrawal of public services and demographic change. Opportunities are those provided by natural resources, collaborative and enterprising communities and collective leadership.
Inspiralba have been an advocate for rural social enterprise for a number of years and have received £27,536 funding from the Scottish Government to work with partners across the social enterprise sector to develop a hub for rural social enterprise. This will be a focal point for research and development activity on social enterprise in the rural context and create opportunities for collaboration, peer to peer learning and knowledge exchange.
Specifically the Rural Social Enterprise Hub will:
- Build the knowledge base on rural social enterprise in Scotland and the unique characteristics that allow rural areas to develop enterprising solutions to the challenges they face.
- Work collaboratively to identify the particular challenges that face rural social enterprises and the implications of these for their future support.
- Develop peer to peer learning and knowledge exchange opportunities both nationally and internationally.
- Identify learning in relation to the broader agenda of inclusive growth and the move from an economy focused on growth to one focused on wellbeing.
To achieve this we plan to:
- Establish a network for rural social enterprises and their supporters across Scotland.
- Develop a digital hub which will support peer to peer learning and digital networking, access to learning materials, case studies and links to academic research. Members will also be able to access discussion for a, on-line communities of practice and have virtual access to national events.
- Develop rural social enterprise connect events to include learning visits, exchanges and local discussion groups. These will focus on key issues as they emerge. Early ideas include collective leadership and succession planning to involve young people.
- Expand links to European and Global social enterprise networks via the ViSENet project, Social Enterprise World Forum and the International Observatory.
These plans are at an early stage and we are keen to consult on what will be of most benefit to rural social enterprises. As a first stage in this process we have developed a short survey and would really appreciate your feedback.
If you need more information please get in contact.