SE City | Explaining Birmingham’s Social Economy

The Birmingham Social Enterprise City Steering group has been carrying out a baseline survey of social enterprise activity in the city. The survey findings show significant new trends within the social enterprise sector within Birmingham.


Read on to find out more about the profile of social enterprise in the city, and the most significant headlines that can be taken from the findings (taken from BSSEC):



- 564 Social Enterprises were identified



– 75% of social enterprises are engaged in trading activities and 74% derive at least 25% of their income from these activities


Age Profile

– The Sector in Birmingham is characterised by a high proportion of newer, younger social enterprises: almost 41% of social enterprises have been operating for three years of less. This is a substantial increase in this age-band.



– 38% of social enterprises have turnover in the £0-£24k a year range, indicating that they are still in the early stages of trading and income-generation. This reflects the high proportion of social enterprises that have been operating for three years or less.

– 43% of social enterprises are in turnover-bands from £25-£400k a year but thinly represented in turnover-bands between £401k and £1m

– 10% have turnovers exceeding £1m


Social enterprises as employers

– Almost 39% of social enterprises do not yet employ staff, again reflective of the increase in newer, younger social enterprises.

– In the two years to date it is estimated that the sector’s new job creation was over 460 FTE posts

– 59% are living wage employers


Significant inter-trading – retaining the social economy pound

– 86% spend with other social enterprises and this is worth almost £17m a year. It is encouraging to see that this key message regarding the importance of inter-trading within the social economy – a key aim of CITYDRIVE and of Social Enterprise City has been grasped and acted on.


Unlocking social value

– 64% of social enterprises utilise volunteers and across the sector this donated effort is equivalent to almost half-a-million volunteer hours worth at least £5.6m a year.

– 69% of social enterprises reinvest in their business – worth a further £5.6m a year

– 69% reinvest each year in achieving their social mission – worth almost £30m a year.


Alun Severn (BSSEC) has produced a report showing the findings from the survey. To read this click on the link at the bottom of the page.


Read the full report here:

Birmingham SE City Baseline Survey Report v3.1-final


Read an executive summary here:

Birmingham SE City Baseline Survey v3.1-EXEC SUMMARY (002)


View the survey infographic here (produced by iSE):

Birmingham Social Enterprise City Baseline Survey 2019 infographic v.9-final