History of social enterprises in Plymouth

Plymouth is a hot-spot for social enterprise activity in the UK and is developing as a global ‘social enterprise city’. We have one of the most active social enterprise networks in the country and Plymouth University is the world’s first officially certified ‘social enterprise’ university. The local council – a co-operative council – is a strong supporter of social enterprise and is developing a range of initiatives to promote social enterprise in the city.

Current social enterprise landscape

There are around 150 social enterprises in Plymouth working in a huge range of sectors including in education, health, arts, environment, food, finance, housing, business support, sport, social care and many more. These businesses employ around 7,000 people and bring in an income of over £500 million. There are mega-social enterprises such as the University, Plymouth Community Homes, PLUSS and Plymouth Community Healthcare but there is also a burgeoning economy of smaller businesses - 1 in 3 turnover under £50,000.

Key objectives

1. Raise public awareness about social enterprise

2. Promote social value in procurement and use of the Social Value Act. Work with the public sector to spread understanding of this important legislation.

3. Hold an annual Festival of Social Enterprise and promote this heavily in national and local media. This will be a high profile, showcase event.

4. Maintain appropriate and specific social enterprise business support for pre-start, start-up and growing social enterprises.

5. Work with schools, colleges and the university to promote social enterprise with young people.

Stakeholder Group in Plymouth

  • Plymouth Social Enterprise Network
  • Plymouth City Council
  • Plymouth University
  • Social Enterprise Focus (Peninsula Enterprise)
  • Real Ideas Organization
  • Iridescent Ideas CIC

Live in Plymouth? Find out how you can get involved here.

Buy Social

Directory of social enterprises in Plymouth

Contact details

Website: Plymouth Social Enterprise Network

Email: Gareth Hart, Chair, gareth@plymsocent.org.uk, 07786 863206

Email: Ed Whitelaw, Co-ordinator, ed.whitelaw@realideas.org, 07973 813806

Plymouth Social Enterprise Week Town Drive

From 17th to 21st November Plymouth Social Enterprise Network and Social Enterprise UK celebrated Social Enterprise Week with organisations from across the region as a part of a town drive to raise awareness of social enterprises amoungst consumers, business and the local council.

The week was welcomed by council, businesses, and press. Thank you to everyone who contributed to it's success!