The upcoming General Election provides a key opportunity to build a stronger Welsh economy with social enterprise at its heart

5 June 2024

The General Election on July 4th is a moment of great decision for people across the UK. For many in Wales, building a stronger economy that creates prosperity, reduces poverty and embeds sustainability will be at the forefront of minds.

We know that the social enterprise sector is leading the way in developing this type of economy in Wales. Research mapping the social enterprise sector in Wales has shown that post-Covid, the sector is going from strength to strength with high levels of new entrepreneurial activity.

The sector is vital for our communities. Whether creating job opportunities for those furthest away from the labour market, using innovative practices to lead the way on sustainability or creating accessible services and activities for people who need them, the social enterprise business model is answering the problems facing our communities in an entrepreneurial way.

Although much of the policy focusing on the Welsh economy is the responsibility of the Welsh Government, there is no doubt that the UK Government will have a significant impact on the context our social enterprise sector is working in.

We want to see an economic development policy agenda focused on creating a sustainable, inclusive economy centred around well-being. We’re a partner in the Future Economy Alliance, a broad, inclusive and innovative initiative that seeks to put social enterprise at the heart of economic policy across the UK.

Wales has a lot to be proud of when it comes to developing a social economy. Our Social Business Wales project, delivered as part of the Social Enterprise Stakeholder Group consortium, provides specialist support to the social enterprise sector and is working strategically to achieve our ambition of making social enterprise the business model of choice by 2030.

We are seeing the results of this work – the latest research showed that there was approximately 2,828 businesses in the sector, an increase of 22% from 2020. Total turnover for the sector was calculated as £4.8bn, and employment for the sector was calculated as 65,299. We have doubled the number of employee-owned businesses in Wales since 2021 – two years earlier than the Welsh Government’s ambition.

But there is no doubt that we can do more – the sector itself is highly ambitious for the future. Our research has shown that many businesses are seeking to expand and/ or diversify, to create even more value for our communities.

The general election provides another opportunity to put social enterprise at the heart of the policy agenda. We will work with others in Wales and across the UK who support the creation of an effective policy environment to achieve our aim of making social enterprise the business model of choice, and to promote the impact of the social enterprise sector.

If you’re interested in working with us or getting involved with the campaign, get in touch with Daniel Roberts via to discuss.