More than half of social enterprises have seen their turnovers grow during the recession, according to a survey by the Social Enterprise Coalition.
Its report, The State of Social Enterprise, released today to coincide with Social Enterprise Day, said that 56 per cent of 962 organisations in the poll had increased their turnovers. Only 20 per cent had seen them fall.
The report pointed out that the Small Business Barometer 2009 showed that, by contrast, 43 per cent of private sector businesses of a similar size had seen their turnovers drop, and only 20 per cent had seen them rise.
Just under two-thirds of social enterprises in the poll were making a profit; 18 per cent were in deficit, with many of the rest describing themselves as breaking exactly even, suggesting all profit was being given away.
The survey also indicated that the social enterprise sector was growing: a third of all organisations in the poll sample had been set up in the past four years.
"I believe this shows that business models built to be sustainable and accountable to a wide variety of stakeholders are often better able to withstand economic uncertainty," said Jonathan Bland, outgoing chief executive of the coalition.
"It is also evidence of a shift towards more people engaging with businesses whose bottom line includes social and environmental benefit."
A number of other activities intended to raise the profile of the social enterprise sector will also take place today, including a conference in Birmingham, several ministerial visits to social enterprises and schemes launched by a range of social enterprises to demonstrate their work to the wider world.