Social Enterprise UK (SEUK) leads the programme, which asks corporates to open up their supply chain to social enterprises, in partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Business in the Community.
The Year Two impact report looks at the programme’s first two years and shows that as well as just over £45 million being spent by corporate partners, the Buy Social Corporate Challenge has directly or indirectly created 329 jobs at social enterprises. In addition, through corporate contracts, social enterprises have been able to reinvest £2.98 million into their social missions. The aim is for corporates to spend £1bn through the programme.
SEUK is looking for more corporates to join the Challenge. Major corporate partners currently include Amey, Johnson & Johnson, PwC, Robertson Group, Santander, Wates Group and Zurich, and these have recently been joined by Linklaters, Mace, BP and LV=.
Social enterprises benefitting from the challenge include Auticon, an IT consultancy which exclusively employs consultants on the autism spectrum; Change Please, a coffee supplier, which creates sustainable jobs for the homeless and Wild Hearts Office, a stationery supplier, which supports female entrepreneurs in the developing world.
Corporate partners to the Challenge have also reported benefits from their involvement: around staff engagement, business development, and an increased positive perception of their business.
Peter Holbrook, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK, said:
“If we are to achieve our ambitious target of £1 billion spent with social enterprises we need more businesses to get involved. What the Challenge has managed to achieve in the last two years has undoubtedly been impressive. Just over a handful of companies have managed to create hundreds of jobs, weave social impact into their supply chains and spend millions with social enterprises. Think of the impact if every FTSE 100 company was on board.
“Social enterprises are thriving, market-leading businesses, which also deliver significant social benefit. Our latest report shows that 100% of major corporates have found the services of social enterprises to be either as good or better than their previous suppliers with prices which are just as competitive. It makes sense that more corporates should sign up – it’s a win-win situation.”
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