One of the reasons that the social enterprise sector is so vibrant in the UK is because within it are some truly world class support organisations. So far we have covered a few of these support agencies, all of which have been integral to the development of social enterprise in this country. However, CEIS are perhaps the most influential. So much so that their training, support and investment programmes have been adopted by numerous other organisations across the world.

My guest on this episode is CEIS Chief Executive Gerry Higgins, a social enterprise veteran with over 30 years of experience working with some of the UK’s biggest social enterprises. He has also worked with a number of different partners and government agencies to develop Britain’s social enterprise strategy, and has been instrumental in the growth of social enterprise in Scotland and in the UK as a whole.

Highlights include:

  • Beginning in Liverpool in 1988
  • Getting involved with the social firm movement
  • Taking influence from the social co-operative movement in Italy and the social firm movement in Germany
  • Setting up Social Firms UK
  • How he has seen the social enterprise sector grow
  • The moments when Gerry has taken stock of what CEIS has achieved since he started in 2006
  • The vibrancy of the social enterprise sector
  • Having conversations every week that are valuable
  • A little bit of chat about the Social Enterprise in Scotland Census 2015 – not just the number of social enterprises, but things like the gender balance, the pay data etc.

Gerry’s experience and passion for social enterprise and social justice are without question, and the work he has done for CEIS speaks for itself. Speaking with him was a fascinating insight into social enterprise, and I was extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to chat with him.


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