Case Studies

Social Enterprise in Education Programme

Social Enterprise in Education Programme

Social Enterprise in Education Programme

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Key Facts

What is the Social Enterprise in Education Programme?

The original programme was created as a partnership between the Social Enterprise Academy and the Scottish Government to support the development of enterprise, employability and entrepreneurial skills in young people and to promote awareness of social enterprise as a way of doing better business in Scotland.

In 2014 we partnered with Highlands and Islands Enterprise to develop the Highlands & Islands Social Enterprise in Schools Programme which is designed to meet the unique challenges of young people growing up in the Highlands and Islands. With support from Highlands & Islands Enterprise young people can have a real-life experience of running a social enterprise business.

The Academy and Young People

The Social Enterprise Academy has been working with young people in schools since 2007 and has a proven track record on delivering learning that is relevant, engaging, creative, inspirational and contextualised for young people. In effect learning that changes lives.

The programme is aimed at young people 3 years to 18 years and runs in nursery, primary, secondary and additional support needs schools across Scotland.

We firmly believe that social entrepreneurs can be found anywhere, at any time and at any stage in their development. This includes within our schools, colleges and universities. That's why our programmes are aimed at encouraging and supporting young people to discover and develop their enterprise, entrepreneurial and employability skills and introduce them to the social enterprise business model as a way of doing better business.

Our schools are at the heart of any community and involvement in social enterprise is demonstrating the role they have to play.

The aim of the programme is to:

  • Develop an understanding of the social enterprise business model
  • Provide hands-on experience of setting up and running a social enterprise
  • Support Curriculum for Excellence by providing practical opportunities that encourage

Skills developed through social enterprise can be described under 4 categories:

  • Core skills - numeracy, literacy, communication, working with others, IT and problem solving
  • Leadership skills
  • Thinking skills
  • Enterprise & Employability skills

How it developed

The programme provides support in a number of ways:

  • Understanding Social Enterprise CPD programme for teachers and education practitioners
  • Support of the Academies Tutor network
  • Support from Local Social Enterprise Networks
  • A wide range of resources linked to Curriculum for Excellence
  • Support from the Academies Futures Education Team

Outcomes and what pupils gained

Pupils participating in social enterprises have to be prepared to take full responsibility for running and developing their businesses. As a result their confidence is boosted and they are developing a range of skills that will help them in the future.

Through social enterprise they are thinking about new and creative ways of doing things, regularly evaluating the results and using that information to make important decisions that affect the future success of their business.

They have learned to listen to each other and value others opinions. They are encouraging one another to think differently, seek the highest standards from themselves and each other and to lead the action. Pupils are developing a 'can do, will do' attitude. They don't shy away from problems but confront them and find solutions. They have developed great team skills, take responsibility for their own work and hold each other accountable. They show initiative and drive, communicate well with each other, the wider school and community and they use practical skills to develop their business. Their IT skills allow them to make their business more successful and to reach wider audiences.

Their social enterprise is not only helping them to develop skills for learning, life and work but is allowing them to help others. They are being empowered, changing other people's lives and changing their own.

Enterprise and Employability Skills

  • Recognising need and opportunity
  • Taking the initiative
  • Adaptability + Resilience
  • Team Working and leadership
  • Setting and meeting roles and expectations
  • Self Awareness, optimism and open mind set
  • Evaluating risk to inform decision making
  • Determination to succeed
  • Influencing and negotiating
  • Planning for personal development
  • Building confidence

Leadership Skills

  • Determination to achieve high standards
  • Show initiative
  • Actively pursue objectives
  • Exert Influence
  • Value others' contribution
  • Listen

Thinking Skills

  • Evaluate
  • Apply
  • Analyse
  • Create
  • Remember
  • Understand

Core Skills

  • Numeracy
  • Literacy
  • Communication
  • Working with others
  • Information Technology
  • Problem solving


Schools participating in the Programme are invited to apply for a Social Enterprise in Education Award. To qualify schools must demonstrate that their social enterprise is:

  • Pupil led
  • Uses its profits to address a social or environmental purpose
  • Have a completed business plan
  • Have clear and ongoing trading activity
  • Have whole school/community awareness
  • Is sustainable

A key element of the process involves pupils accepting responsibility for the long term sustainability of the social enterprise business. Succession planning is therefore a key task. Some of our most successful school based social enterprises ate now into the 7th year of trading.


The support from the Social Enterprise Academy is free and includes CPD for teachers, tutor support in the classroom, support from the Futures Education Co-ordinator, resources and materials linked to Curriculum for Excellence and participation in the Social Enterprise in Education Awards.


The Social Enterprise Academy connects schools with local social enterprise networks and encourages other local businesses to become involved.


The Social Enterprise Academy provided a range of resources including access to their team and tutors (who are all social entrepreneurs), CPD for teachers and pupil, templates and examples of Business Plans, Skills Pack for young people, a step by step guide to running a social enterprise and materials linking the programme to the outcomes and experiences of Curriculum for Excellence.

Contact details

Claire Fraser
Social Enterprise Futures Education Co-ordinator
Social Enterprise Academy

Phone: 0131 243 2670

Tracy Rennie
Social Enterprise Futures Education Co-ordinator
Social Enterprise Academy

Phone: 01463 238 088
Mobile: 07584717502

Other useful information

What is social enterprise?

Social enterprises are dynamic businesses with a social purpose that reinvest their profits for community benefit. It is a great way of doing business, contributes to a stronger economy and community and often promotes greener ways of working.

Well known examples of social enterprises include The Big Issue, Jamie Oliver's restaurant Fifteen, and the fair trade company Divine Chocolate.

The sector includes co-operatives, credit unions, housing associations, development trusts, social firms, and community businesses.

Social enterprises operate across a diverse range of areas including: fair trade, recycling, catering and hospitality, renewable energy, health, social care, leisure, community transport, housing and childcare.

So what does social enterprise look like in a school?

They are connected to their community - School social enterprises have explicit social and/or environmental aims and their profits are used for this purpose. This can either be locally or linked to a community abroad.

They are entrepreneurial - They have a clear trading activity and are directly involved in producing goods or providing services to a market.

They are led by young people - They are driven and run by pupils with support from teachers and parents. There will also be awareness of the social enterprise across the whole school.

They are dynamic - School social enterprises aspire to make a positive and responsive change to people's lives.


  • Social Enterprise Academy - helps develop excellence in and understanding of leadership and management in social enterprises -
  • Social Enterprise Scotland - the lobbying and campaign voice of Scottish Social Enterprises -
  • Senscot - the social entrepreneur network for Scotland. You can find out about social enterprises in your local area at -
  • Firstport - offers free business support and awards to social entrepreneurs who are just starting out -
  • Co-operative Education Trust Scotland - a charitable trust that promotes learning about co-operatives and what they do -
  • Fairtrade - learn more about the Fairtrade movement, products and recipes -
  • Socialearth - a fresh socially-minded weblog for business who are doing good -

Some well know social enterprises:

Contact Us

Scotland’s Enterprising Schools

Rouken Glen Park
Rouken Glen Rd
G46 7JN
United Kingdom

+44 (0)141 406 7722

Where to Find Us