The British Council has been implementing a Global Social Enterprise Programme since 2009 which draws on the UK experience in social enterprise to promote its growth around the world. It seeks to build capacity in the sector, forge international networks, and support policy leaders to create ecosystems in which social enterprise and social investment can thrive. Our work supports positive social change, inclusive growth and sustainable development while building trust and creating opportunities between the UK and other countries.
The key priority strands
- Policy and ecosystem development: to support governments and policy influencers to create an enabling environment for social enterprises to succeed. Social Enterprise baseline research is part of this strand. Much has been written about the growth of social enterprise in Asia and Africa, but to date, there has been little quantitative evidence to draw upon. Our baseline work seeks to help fill that knowledge gap by providing quantitative information on the social enterprise sectors in particular countries.
- Capacity Building: to support social entrepreneurs and social enterprises to develop, grow and scale through training, mentoring, consultancy and access to investment.
- Education Systems: to support social entrepreneurship to become embedded in the curricula and ethos of higher education institutions, promoting strategic research and collaboration opportunities as well as innovative school programmes.
- International Development: to embed social enterprise approaches in international development programmes and to evidence the role that social enterprise plays in international development through reports and dialogue.
Currently running in more than 30 countries and on four continents, the programme provides aspiring and existing social enterprises with skills training, consultancy, mentoring and access to funding; disseminates the UK and global best practice to support policy leaders to create enabling ecosystems for social enterprise and investment; supports education institutions to embed social enterprise, exchange best practice, and deliver joint research on social enterprise; facilitates the use of social enterprise approaches in international development programmes; commissions research and organises high profile events that foster social enterprise and social investment, and it builds international networks linking social entrepreneurs, intermediary organisations and social investors.
As part of this global programme, the British Council is developing a series of baseline mappings of social enterprise sectors. The further development and wider implementation of the Social Enterprise Programme are seen as a strategic priority for the British Council as a mechanism for supporting strong and inclusive economic and social development. In order to continue the success of the programme, the British Council is looking to start working in this area in key strategic countries including Nigeria.
The programme in Nigeria commissioned research to provide a baseline of the current size, scale and scope of the social enterprise sector in the country and to provide recommendations for growth in this area.