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12 April 2017, 14:33
A scheme to create more businesses that benefit the community has had its funding from the Scottish Government doubled.
The Social Entrepreneurs Fund will now receive £1 million a year for the next three years.
The move is part of an action plan aimed at increasing the number of social enterprises - businesses which use their profits to address important issues such as homelessness, climate change or unemployment.
Scotland already has some 5,000 such firms, with about 200 new enterprises set up each year.
Equalities Secretary Angela Constance said: ''Scotland's social enterprises are all about empowering communities and being a catalyst for change. They also employ more than 100,000 people and contribute around £1.86 billion to our economy each year, so they make a significant economic contribution as well.
''We are already recognised as a social enterprise world-leader, backed by Scottish Government support in 2016/17 of around £6.5 million, however I am determined we do more. That is why we have set out a three-year action plan, including doubling the Social Entrepreneurs Fund, helping encourage the next phase of social enterprise innovators.''
Ms Constance was speaking during a visit to the Milk Cafe in Glasgow's Govanhill, which was set up in 2015 with £3,900 of cash from the Social Entrepreneurs Fund and which provides employment, training and support to ethnic minority women.
She said: ''Businesses like the Milk Cafe - offering a safe space for ethnic minority women to gain work experience, improve their English skills and integrate locally - show the huge difference a social enterprise can make in their local community.''