New impact report shows SSE Fellows are building the social economy from the bottom up

5 Jul 2016

Newly released impact data from a review of the first three years of the Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme, conducted by Can Invest and Investing for Good, found that the Programme is unique in its scale and design with participants coming from diverse backgrounds and from regions across the UK:

  • 50% of all Fellows are working in the 20% most deprived geographical communities of the UK
  • 80% of Fellows say their social enterprise is the first of its kind in their community
  • 1 in 4 Fellows have direct experience of the social issue they aim to address

The scale and national reach of the Programme means that it is not only supporting individuals to bring about change; it is helping to build a community of social entrepreneurs committed to improving society over the long-term by creating change from the bottom up.

Looking across a number of key indicators of social capital the new impact data demonstrates that Fellows impact extends beyond having a direct impact on their beneficiaries by impacting on wider local economies and labour markets, changing attitudes and opinions and inspiring others to act more socially.

It is not unusual for social entrepreneurs to support economic development by creating local employment opportunities, reinvesting profits, or doing business with other social enterprises. SSE Fellows are no exception. Hundreds of the social enterprises we have supported are using their purchasing power to support local and social economies.

  • 73% ‘buy local’ i.e. buy products or services from suppliers within the local economy
  • 60% ‘buy social’ i.e. buy products or services from a social enterprise


Each Fellow works with an average of 11 volunteers and creates an average of 2.3 jobs. Many Fellows recruit volunteers from the local community to support their organisations. By doing so they help support local residents, including those whose may be considered vulnerable due to their circumstances.

The majority (84%) of Fellow’s employees are recruited from the local labour market. In addition, almost three-fifths (59%) of fellows recruit people who are typically disadvantaged in the labour market. Forecasts suggest over 7,000 jobs will be created over the lifetime of the 5 year Programme.

Peter Holbrook, CEO of Social Enterprise UK, said:

“This Programme shows the powerful impact that social entrepreneurs can have in their local communities. They create jobs, change attitudes, keep spend local, and are proof that another kind of economy is possible. This course is harnessing the skills of entrepreneurs to create real positive change where it’s most needed. It’s really encouraging to see so many fellows buying social and making a difference from the bottom up.”

Fellows work to tackle a range of social issues but recurring themes include:

  • tackling widening health inequalities through food and nutrition
  • creating flexible work opportunities for people with disabilities
  • preventing homelessness among young care leavers
  • connecting people and communities
  • encouraging enterprising behaviours from an early age

Alastair Wilson, CEO of School for Social Entrepreneurs said: “The findings from this report confirm we are achieving our aim of supporting social entrepreneurs’ to develop emotional resourcefulness, leadership and business skills and networks. It is important to SSE that we continually prove and improve how change happens, so we plan to carry this work forward as part of our ongoing monitoring activity.”

Sarah Moreau, Head of Impact Advisory, Investing for Good and Rohan Martyres, Head of Impact and Investment Strategy, CAN Invest said:

“The Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme is one of a kind. It has been designed to empower social entrepreneurs to take action and uses an innovative learning approach, focused on real world issues and practices. The success of this unique Programme is clearly apparent throughout this report as the findings highlight the breadth and depth of impact that fellows are having in communities throughout the UK.”

You can read the full impact report here:

Social Impact Review


What is Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme?

Launched in April 2012, The School for Social Entrepreneurs ‘Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme’ provides individuals with a place on a SSE learning programme, a grant and a business mentor.  Over five years the Programme, which is supported by Lloyds Bank and The Big Lottery Fund, will support 1,300 social entrepreneurs to start and scale innovative social organisations.

The aim of the Programme is to help individual social entrepreneurs’ to develop emotional resourcefulness, leadership and business skills and networks, so they can go on to lead sustainable organisations that have a positive impact on society.

For more information about the Programme please visit the webpage: