Resilient Welsh social enterprises are finding creative ways to cope, Cwmpas Director tells BBC

5 December 2023

Cwmpas Director of Enterprise Glenn Bowen has told the BBC that social enterprises across Wales are finding creative ways to cope in the current challenging financial environment.

Glenn was speaking to BBC Wales Today’s Felicity Evans on the situation in Wales and told how social businesses are slightly more resilient given the number of stakeholders that are involved in the business.

“When things get tough for a commercial business, you’ve got your bank and shareholders and the investors. But within the social business, you have your membership from a broader community that you can fall back on,” he told the BBC.

The Today Programme showcased the work of  Dr Sondra Butterworth who said her Wrexham based social enterprise has been saved by a bartering system and outlined how  RareQoL is  finding creative ways to keep their business thriving. Inspired by the way people in her village of Llandrillo in Denbighshire had supported each other, Dr Butterworth devised a system of swapping skills and knowledge to continue her work with rare disease organisation, RareQol.

“RareQol could have closed,” Dr Butterworth said. “[But] earlier this year we actually managed to put a big conference on with no money because so many people would help us. Someone would do something for someone and then they’d swap, like bartering, and I thought ‘this is a sustainable model. This could work in other areas’.”

Earlier this year, the ‘Social Business Mapping Report’  showed that social enterprise is stronger than ever and playing an increasingly important role in Welsh communities.

The report, commissioned by Social Business Wales, which is part of Cwmpas,  also showed that many social enterprises in Wales had felt the impact of the financial crisis and were facing higher costs and limited resources.