Spanish social enterprises report soaring revenues

A study from the Esade Centre for Social Impact has examined the finances of 80 social enterprises in Spain and found that the majority of them are experiencing a marked growth in revenue, reports Ellen Buchan

The report, entitled The European Social Enterprise Monitor 2021-2022, is co-authored by Guillermo Casasnovas, researcher at the Esade Centre for Social Impact, with support from María Sanchez and Maria Viñas at the Barcelona-based Knowledge Sharing Network. While all the companies who took part in the study were social enterprises, all the organisations within this umbrella title had a diverse profile; associations and limited societies were the most common, followed by foundations and cooperatives.

The report had largely positive findings. During the financial year 2021-22, the income of 56 per cent of the social enterprises increased, while only 16 per cent reported a drop in earnings.

Looking to the future, most social enterprises said they had a positive outlook: 71 per cent of the companies expected their income to increase over the next 12 months, while only four per cent reckoned it would fall. Responding social enterprises also hope to expand, with 58 per cent intending to recruit more employees and less than three per cent envisage layoffs.

“The impact economy to which social enterprises belong continues to grow because consumers, investors and entrepreneurs are increasingly taking social and environmental impact into account when making decisions,” said Esade’s Casasnovas.

On average, the social enterprises’ main source of income came from the public sector – from business engaged with the public sector or in the of form grants. In terms of grants, half had applied for these in the last 12 months. Despite this, however, a fifth of the organisations surveyed said that the complexity of public funding was one of their main obstacles.

When looking at diversity and inclusion practices, the survey also found that social enterprises in Spain tend to be very inclusive. Six out of 10 social enterprises surveyed employed people from different ethnic origins and 44 per cent employed persons with ‘functional diversity’.

The report also found the social enterprises report very high rates of gender equality. On average, women in social enterprises represented 63 per cent of staff, 52 per cent of management and more than 50 per cent of those on management boards or boards of trustees, as well as 42 per cent of teams.

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