• Diversity in Social Enterprise

    A page for people interested in improving workforce diversity in Social Enterprise in Scotland

  • About Us

    Diversity in Social Enterprise (DSE) was started by a group of volunteers who are passionate about increasing diversity and inclusion in the social enterprise sector. We are not experts but all come with lived experience and a keenness to ensure that our sector is welcoming to, and representative of, the diverse communities in which we live, work and volunteer.

    Our goals

    Our group would like to encourage more conversations about diversity and inclusion in social enterprise so that everyone feels welcome and can that they can contribute, in paid as well as voluntary roles.

    We'd like a greater representation of people from diverse backgrounds in leadership and influential roles, as well as at all levels of social enterprises.

    Ideally, we would like to see diversity being represented so well that there is no longer a need for this conversation!

    Passionate about diversity

    We believe that all kinds of diversity, visible or not, are extremely important to represent in this sector. Our definition of diversity extends beyond the protected characteristics; for example, we also define socioeconomic status as a measure of diversity.

  • Our Findings

    We are very aware that even our small group is not representative in all areas and are collecting ideas and stories from other people to build a clearer picture of diversity in the social enterprise sector.

    If you haven't yet taken part, please do so here.

    Our key findings are listed below. (Last updated: 17/8/2020)


    of respondents think that our sector is more supportive of diversity than other sectors (22% think it is less supportive)


    of respondents did not think that diversity is well represented in areas such as boards and workforces currently.

  • Comments

    "I think we could do better in relation to BAME and young people"


    "There is a lack of ethnic diversity, a real lack of class diversity, where those starting up a social enterprise are expected to self finance at the beginning. It is not always a welcoming environment to LGBT people"


    "I think that boards and social enterprises are often full of straight white men. The sector needs to be more broad minded about how to recruit diversity."


    "Disabled people are under represented."


    "The leadership of many of the high profile social enterprises and membership bodies is predominantly white and male. There wasn't much of a response from the sector to Black Lives Matter, which could mean many organisations either don't know what to say or don't think it's relevant to them. Either way, it doesn't seem like there is much action."


    "Executive and board leadership looks very different from those delivering social enterprises on the ground."


    "Social Enterprises in Scotland are so white and the biggest challenge is when they dilute diversity by using terms such as diversity of thought which makes the issue worse."


    "Much diversity even when well intentioned is often one dimensional with little if any focus on intersectionality. Eg disability or race) ethnicity, rarely both"


    "My experience has been positive, but I wouldn't say that the support/interest in diversity has been that intentional until recently"


    "I have heard many misogynistic and racist comments in the sector from people who should be more supportive. The support agencies also do not reflect or promote Diversity"


    "I am and employee of a social enterprise and board member on another. Both organisations have policies that support diversity and inclusion."


    "The support for organisations from BAME Communities is hardly available."


    "Our board includes older people, young people and people with disabilities."

  • Better Practice

    There are lots of brilliant resources available for social enterprises keen to be more diverse. Rather than duplicate, we have gathered these here for ease of reference. If there is anything you think we should add please send a link via the email below.

  • Contact us!

    If you have your own ideas or stories regarding diversity in the social enterprise sector, we would love to know them! You can fill in our 5-minute survey linked below. We also have an email account you can use to contact us with any enquiries.

    Email: socentdiversity@gmail.com