Foundational economy | News | Social enterprise

Exciting times ahead for the social enterprise sector

Minister for Economy, Vaughan Gething MS, opens the Social Business Wales Awards 2021 with words of support for social enterprises and co-operatives in Wales.

By Catherine Evans · 5 October 2021

See this page in: Cymraeg

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to say a few words ahead of the Social Business Wales awards, the annual platform to celebrate exemplar social entrepreneurs, business leaders, and hard-working co-operators, who are also talented innovators.

I’m delighted to be here to say a few words to help to encourage the activity that is already taking place across this hugely important sector here in Wales. I’m a long-standing supporter of this sector, and I recognise the positive social impact within our communities, our societies, as well as improving our social and economic well-being.

I understand there has been yet again an excellent standard of entries. I know that our business community have faced tremendous challenges over this past year. We want to use the levers that we do have, through Business Wales and Social Business Wales, to help emerging entrepreneurs, businesses, social enterprise, and co-operatives, to help build resilience and innovate to unlock the still untapped huge potential, as we look to recover, and move through the end and beyond the pandemic.

Our vision in Wales is of a well-being economy. This drives prosperity, is environmentally sound, and helps everyone to realise their potential. It’s rooted in our existing economic action plan, Prosperity For All, with its progressive purpose of reducing inequality, spreading wealth, opportunity, and well-being, across all of Wales. Our economic well-being is without doubt tied in to our environmental, cultural, social well-being.

The COVID crisis has removed any doubts about the fundamental role that the foundational economy plays in the well-being of the nation. It’s the part of the economy that could not be shut down, as it provides an infrastructure for everyday life, serving our essential daily household needs, and helping to keep us safe and civilised. We have and will continue to champion the role of the foundational economy, to seek a more effective balance between the focus on the tradable and competitive economy, and the mainly sheltered foundational economy, producing daily essential goods and services, which underpin liveability and sustainability. Specific attention will be paid to supporting social enterprise, employee-owned organisations and SMEs who are rooted in their communities, to engage in public procurement, to help sustain and create local employment opportunities, which should also lead to healthier communities.

We will continue to invest in social care, in childcare, housing, energy, and low carbon activity and transfer, as well of course in digital connectivity. That I know will not only help us to address the foundational needs of a civilised life here in Wales, but should offer meaningful and rewarding careers, to be harnessed for economic development.

These are, I hope, exciting times ahead for the sector. I’m encouraged about the future, and the potential for the sector to grow further, and to be even more successful. I want to close by saying congratulations to all of those on the shortlist and to wish you the very best of luck at the awards ceremony. And of course, to thank each and every one of you for the contribution you already make, but also the gains that we will make together in delivering a genuine well-being economy, as part of a greener, healthier, and fairer Wales.

Picture of Vaughan Gething

Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for Economy, will address the Social Business Wales Awards on Tuesday 5 October 2021.