Global Data Overview for Social Enterprises 2013-2023

July 10, 2024

The World Economic Forum and the Schwab Foundation have issued a report on social enterprises in the global environment, providing a comprehensive overview of prevailing trends. The report uses data from over 80 countries, collected over the period from 2013 to 2023. Its aim is to inform policymakers and business leaders about the underestimated contributions of social enterprises to global GDP, employment, and the implementation of sustainable development goals.

A social enterprise encompasses both components — business and social welfare — promoting innovative solutions that not only create economic value but also provide significant social and environmental impact.

It is estimated that in 2021, there were approximately 333.34 million companies worldwide. The report, “The State of Social Enterprise: A Review of Global Data 2013–2023” identifies 9.79 million social enterprises, making up only about 3% of all companies globally.

The global report data indicates that there are:

~10 million social enterprises;

~ $2 trillion in total revenue generated by social enterprises;

~200 million jobs created by social enterprises;

~3% the proportion of social enterprises out of the total number of companies worldwide.

Social enterprises also help to reduce the gender inequality gap, as one out of two social enterprises worldwide is led by women. In traditional businesses, only one in five is led by women. Although the proportion of women-led social enterprises is consistently high, the average percentage varies across countries. Among the countries with the lowest representation of female leaders are Bangladesh, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and India, where slightly less than 25% of surveyed social enterprises are led by women. Conversely, in Latvia, Ireland, and Sweden, almost 70% of social enterprises are led by women.

This report reflects not only the numerical environment of social entrepreneurship but also highlights the significant challenge of obtaining and compiling these data. However, these data are crucial for understanding how this sector could be developed further.

Employment data in social enterprises (total figures or averages) were available in 81 countries. The average is 18 jobs per social enterprise (median – 14). A single social enterprise creates between one to 84 jobs.

See the chart showing the average number of created jobs per social enterprise in each country!

Based on the available data, the majority of social entrepreneurs seek external funding sources to finance their organizations. For example, in Europe, nearly 75% of social enterprises, surveyed by the European Social Entrepreneurship Overview, seek external funding. Typically, external funding constitutes about 75% of the annual revenue of social enterprises on average.

Data from 35 countries and a survey conducted by the Schwab Foundation’s Global Social Entrepreneurship Alliance show that social enterprises face obstacles throughout their operational cycle—from establishment to growth and expansion. Although conditions vary across countries, social enterprises worldwide generally encounter the following barriers:

  • Limited access to funding;
  • Low public and policy-maker support;
  • Inadequate legal and/or fiscal regulation;
  • Limited access to procurement processes.

Explore the study results

This report also includes data about Latvia. This data was taken from the European Social Enterprise Monitor (ESEM), assisted in Latvia by the Latvian Social Enterprise Association.