Asda News, 21 July 2016

We’ve announced that £1.1 million collected from charging customers for carrier bags in our stores in Scotland and Wales has been invested in developing local social enterprise programmes.

This follows the successful launch of Asda’s first Social Enterprise Supplier Development Academy.

This was a four-day programme which brought together representatives from 15 social enterprises and provided them with the opportunity to develop their skills and learn how to succeed in the mass retail market.

Organised in partnership with Social Investment Scotland, and delivered by experts from Asda as well as external guest speakers, the Academy offered practical workshops on managing supplier/retailer relationships, as well as sessions focused on packaging and developing marketing strategies.

Attendees – including Heroes Vodka, a company that uses its profits to support former veterans, and MsMissMrs, a social enterprise that empowers women and girls – were also given the opportunity to receive one-on-one mentoring throughout the event.

Asda and Social Investment Scotland have been working together since October 2014 and so far the partnership has seen 11 social enterprises benefit from loans, which have been used to fund a variety of activities – from developing local community facilities to supporting further job creation.

The Scottish model, in particular, has already seen outstanding success with more than £700K already invested into loans through Social Investment Scotland.

Andrew Moore, Chief Merchandising Officer, Asda, said: "As the only retailer in the UK to support such an initiative, we are extremely proud to be working with Social Investment Scotland to give local social enterprises the boost they need to grow in a hugely competitive market.

“Social enterprises do tremendous work in local communities, not just in Scotland and Wales but across the whole of the UK, and they need our support. As a retail business, we understand the value of sharing our experience and we will continue to support new entrants.

“This partnership with Social Investment Scotland allows us to provide support in a very direct way that will hopefully support the sustainable growth of businesses that one day may become suppliers.”

Alastair Davis, CEO, Social Investment Scotland, said: "Here at Social Investment Scotland, we’ve seen first-hand just how much this programme has supported social enterprises across Scotland and Wales, and we’re still only in the early stages.

“Now with the launch of the Social Enterprise Supplier Development Academy, enterprises not only receive the crucial funding they need, but they are also given the opportunity to benefit from a tailored programme of training and support from one of the biggest retailers to help them grow. We can’t wait to see what comes next.”

Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities, Angela Constance said: “Social enterprises play a vital role in the Scottish Government’s drive to tackle inequalities and help grow the economy. That’s why I was delighted to see Asda and Social Investment Scotland come together to launch the Social Enterprise Supplier Development Academy.

“The Academy really helped social enterprises learn the skills they need to operate in the increasingly competitive mass retail market and give this vibrant sector a boost so it can continue to thrive.”

Source: Asda

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