The Social Enterprise Exchange Marketplace took place in Edinburgh on March 21st. It was an exciting day with more than 80 exhibitors and hundreds of delegates. Among them was the Creative Freedoms Foundation, a new partnership between different media and arts project in Scotland. The partnership includes Cosmopolita Scotland, Ayrshire Community Media, Moving Arts Scotland and Resonate Together.
The event was an opportunity to share knowledge, challenge old thinking and orthodoxy, and consider new campaigns. The participants could build business relationships, share ideas and create new partnerships, all in a dynamic marketplace environment. A lot of important topics for the viability of the social enterprise were put on the table: housing and social care, person-centred services, natural capital, sustainable impact, community empowerment, ethical finance, inclusive growth and much more.
The Social Enterprise Exchange Marketplace also aimed to explore the implementation of the Action Plan developed by the Scottish Government at the end of 2016. The Social Enterprise Strategy is a ten year plan for the development of social enterprise in Scotland. The plan is focused on three main objectives: stimulating social enterprise, developing stronger organisations and realising market opportunities.
This policy aims to contribute to Scotland’s Economic Strategy, placing social enterprise in such a way as it can tackle the competitiveness and inequality in the country, said Scottish Minister for Social Security Jeane Freeman. The Scottish Minister came on behalf of First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon since the proposal for a second Independence referendum was being debated in Holyrood. Freeman made a speech supportive of social enterprises. She highlighted the important role of social enterprises to strengthen Scottish communities, and transform and improve our societies. Freeman said that Scotland is leading this new inclusive way of doing businesses.
There were eleven first interactive forums throughout the day which focused on key areas for the evolution of social enterprises in Scotland, such as investment, health and social care, building a democratic economy and private sector evolution.
The event was followed on social media with the hashtag #SocEntEx17. It was a great success according to attendants and organisers who felt more confident about the prospects for social enterprises in Scotland in the coming years.