Social enterprise and ethnic minorities

Working Paper 48

Social enterprise is at the centre of current political and academic debates over the future development of the third sector and public policy within the UK. Yet there remains only very limited understanding of the involvement of migrant and ethnic minorities in social enterprise activity and the associated policy agenda. Whereas much past formal social enterprise activity in the UK has been based within the white majority population there is evidence of dynamic socially-oriented enterprise activity, both formal and informal in nature, within ethnic minority communities. Yet the lack of research undertaken on social enterprise activity within these communities has meant that much of the discussion to date has been based on assumptions and anecdotal evidence. This paper addresses this knowledge gap through presenting results from research into the development of the ethnic minority social enterprise sector in London, within the five East London Boroughs which will host the 2012 Olympics Games. The findings identify a number of important issues facing the development of this sector and question the extent to which current public policies being pursued at different state levels are acting to engage migrant and ethnic minority communities or are in fact reproducing processes of exclusion.

Research contact:
Leandro Sepulveda