Sheffield Social Enterprise Network (SSEN) is to commission business development expertise to sustain and develop the network beyond the end of the Lottery grant which expires on 31 March 2016.
‘SSEN requires a consultant to help the network become a sustainable entity beyond the end of the current Awards for All grant which ends on 31.03.2016. This piece of work is fundamental to develop SSEN’s strategy for the medium and long-term’. Source: SSEN Nov. 2015.
The main areas of work include:
Work with SSEN management committee and its members to understand its circumstances, problems and opportunities.
Develop a tender/funding resource (key information that SSEN can use to input directly into funding/tender bids).
Scope the external environment for business opportunities
Register SSEN with key contract opportunity websites, mailing lists and newsletters.
Identify and evaluate potential income-generating services and projects that SSEN could develop (short term and long term).
Write funding and tender bids with the support of management committee members.
The deadline for receipt of tenders is 12pm on Tuesday 10 November2015.
An exciting two day event, bringing together digital academics, female entrepreneurs and women who are working or interested in creative industries and digital enterprise.
Saturday 21 & Sunday 22 November 2015 at the University of Nottingham – Book on-line here.
‘What is Missing in Action about?
A collaboration between the Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Digital Women UK, this ‘thought space’ will allow female digital entrepreneurs, academics, creative practitioners and those interested in this field, to discuss professional challenges and concerns, share insights and learn from each other’s experiences and studies of digital entrepreneurship.
Why the title?
Missing in Action reflects the fact that although female digital entrepreneurs are aspiring to start up status, or are working widely in the UK, very little is known about who they are, which communities they come from, the obstacles they face and which entrepreneurial activities they are engaged or interested in.
Women of Colour are driving entrepreneurial growth overseas.
For example, statistics show that women of colour in the US are driving growth in entrepreneurial activity, much of which is underpinned by the digital environment. Yet there is no equivalent or robust information about women’s experiences in the UK.
We believe that increasing the visibility and knowledge-base around UK women working in digital will enable us to develop and champion more targeted professional support and help aspirant women decide if this is a path they want to pursue. This event is one step towards helping to fill the information vacuum’.
£32k prize fund shared by top performing social businesses…
The NatWest SE100 Index has announced the winners of its 2015 awards. Five winners were chosen from 1120 social ventures listed on the NatWest SE100 Index in the UK. This year’s awards build a clear picture of a thriving social enterprise sector that is supporting economic growth in the UK and delivering positive social impact.
The 2015 winners demonstrate best business practice within the social sector, working to address some of the UK’s most acute social issues. This year’s winners are helping to get people from disadvantaged backgrounds back into work, sustaining the environment and revolutionising healthcare services for disabled children.
These inspiring organisations now share over £32,000 in prize money awarded today at Critical Mass, the event for social enterprise, in recognition of their work.
The EBP is a non-profit dedicated to developing the skills of young people through development and employment programmes. The EBP works to ensure its services provide young people with the opportunity to develop the skills that employers are looking for, striving to engage young people in work and society.
FRC Group runs three social businesses including furniture recycling and waste management projects. These produce financial profits and create a social dividend by giving people in poverty and unemployment the opportunity to change their lives.
Kelvin Valley Honey works to sustain Scotland’s honey bee populations whilst contributing to the regeneration of disadvantaged communities through financing and supporting the development of beekeeping, creating employment for people housebound through disability and long term illnesses.
Andiamo works to meet the gap in demand and capacity that currently exists and is growing in the field of orthotics, printing 3D fully customised orthotics children with disabilities and long-term conditions.
Five Lamps delivers an integrated range of inclusion services to transform the lives of individuals and their families from disadvantaged communities, by helping them to find work, start their own business, improve their finances and improve their aspirations.
Aduna is an African-inspired health & beauty brand and social business working to create demand for under-utilised natural products from small-scale producers in Africa to create sustainable income – starting with the nutrient-dense superfoods Baobab and Moringa.
Marcelino Castrillo, Managing Director Business Banking, NatWest, who presented the Growth Champion Award, said: “I want to congratulate all this year’s winners, not just on their success in the awards, but on the profound social impact that they are having on our society. NatWest is proud to have supported the SE100 since the beginning and we are committed to unlocking and nurturing entrepreneurial talent through access to finance, markets and expertise.”
Rob Wilson, Minister for Civil Society who presented the Trailblazing Newcomer award said of the NatWest SE100: “Social enterprises occupy a crucial place in our society. These organisations help tackle social challenges while contributing to economic growth. The SE100 Index is an important benchmark for the sector and I would encourage all social enterprises to sign up so we can build a truly compassionate society.”
(If ever there was a great example of how diverse, dynamic and effective the social (enterprise) sector is in the UK, then look no further than these awards…Ed.)
This Saturday, 10th October 2015, is Social Saturday– spend your cash with a social enterprise and get some real ‘community multiplier effect‘ for your money!
‘In the UK alone, there are 70,000 social enterprises, contributing £18.5 billion to the UK economy and employing almost a million people. This exciting movement is growing fast all around the world and we’re seeing a boom in start-ups being launched that combine doing business with doing good’. Source: Social Enterprise UK
At the Key Fund, research that shows that this confusion persists about what social enterprise is. Although two thirds of us support the idea of social enterprise, only a fifth (21 per cent) knew what social enterprises were.
‘Simply, it’s about buying or using services from businesses that make a positive difference in our community or on the environment. Social enterprises reinvest their profits into furthering their social mission. They have to have good business models to be financially sustainable, so they don’t rely on grants or charity’. Source: The Key Fund
Key Fund is itself a social enterprise. Matt Smith of the Key Fund, quoted in a recent article in The Guardian, speaking about the misconceptions about Social Enterprise in the UK stated ‘…what’s interesting is this misconception that social enterprise relies on grants or donations. We escaped a culture reliant on grants many years ago, and the main impetus of social enterprise is to ignite local economies, create jobs, and be profitable or at least sustainable in delivering their ethical aim.”
As part of the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences – the Institute of Network Cultures have recently published another document in their innovative and ground breaking research and thought leadership programme.
The MoneyLab Reader – An intervention in Digital Economy, edited by Geert Lovink, Nathaniel Tkacz and Patricia de Vries, contains much that mainstream financiers may find provocative, but which takes positions which offer interesting new insights into the emerging digital economy.
This published work contains sections on new digital-economic forms, some subtle essays on how value can be driven and extracted from an open source, ‘Commons‘ based economy, as well as essays on Bitcoin and other complimentary currencies.
There is a strong section on the ‘Economies of the Imagination‘. This is mindful of one of the driving forces of the digital economy, which is the creation of art and artistic output through new mediums of distribution and payment.
Readers in the creative quarters across our region may find this section particularly energising.
‘MoneyLab, a network of artists, activists and researchers, founded in 2013 by the Amsterdam-based Institute of Network Cultures; its aim is to research, discuss, and experiment with (alternative) internet-related revenue models in the arts and beyond’.
In a powerful essay, The Long Game by Keith Hart, there is a telling argument that Georg Simmel’s prophesy of the withering of the physical substance of money and the emergence of revolutionary new social institutions supporting new, fiscally adroit communities of interest may already be upon us. (The Philosophy of Money: 1907).
Whilst this may not be new to mainstream bankers, the shift in fiscal power from lender to borrower, which this implies, will be a difficult concept for many.
However, in the newly emergent social finance sector we can see that new paradigms of fiscal effectiveness, lending tolerance and social outcome entwined in community values, are all currently abroad.
We commend this lengthy pamphlet to our readers…perhaps we are all living in a ‘Simmelcast’ world now?
”Social Enterprise East Midlands (SEEM) has handed over the baton for support to Social and Community Enterprises in the East Midlands to The Key Fund from the 1st August 2015.
The Key Fund, which already has a strong local presence, is the UK’s most prolific investor in the social enterprise sector. It is incorporating the work of the organisation into its day-to-day operations, safeguarding the services for the future.
Nottingham-based SEEM, which was formed in 2002, provided services across the East Midlands to support the creation and development of social businesses and social enterprises to become sustainable and deliver significant and enduring social impact. It also enabled access to Social Investment and offers Investment Readiness Support to charities, community businesses, social enterprises and social businesses.
Dave Brazier, Chair of SEEM, said: “Obviously, we are a bit sad to see the closure of SEEM as an independent organisation. However, we are absolutely delighted that the great work done by SEEM is to be continued by the Key Fund. In particular, the provision of Social Investment for business with a social purpose will be continuing, and indeed expanding in the future.”
SEEM shared similar values with Key Fund as a not-for-profit social enterprise that believes it’s possible for businesses to function in a transparent, ethical and socially responsible way. Both organisations support enterprise that not only delivers the products and services that people want to buy, but provides the means to have a positive impact in the community in which they operate.
Key Fund was launched in Sheffield 1999 to stimulate local economies in Yorkshire and the Humber after the decline of the coal, steel and other major industries. Its smallest funding package is £3,500 and the largest so far has been £300,000. The Sheffield-based Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI) has invested over £39m in almost a thousand businesses which stimulate local economies and place equal importance on social impact as well as profit.
Matt Smith, Key Fund’s Deputy CEO, said: “We are excited about building on the fantastic legacy built in the East Midlands by Roger Moors and the team at SEEM. We see real opportunities to grow the sector in the area and will be developing new programmes in the future.”
Nottingham’s Miles Waghorn has emerged the triumphant winner of the SEEM ‘New Business Idea’ Award at the inaugural Venturefest East Midlands with his innovative TechSilver – find them on Facebook here… e-commerce store.
Over 1000 delegates gathered at the East Midlands Conference Centre in Nottingham for Venturefest. A mix of entrepreneurs, business owners, academics, business services and representatives of large multinationals joined together to grow the East Midlands’ innovation eco-system.
Miles, a 22 year old social entrepreneur, secured the coveted SEEM award for his business idea that provides solutions for seniors. TechSilver, a ‘technology store for the later lifestyle’, provides innovative products and supportive services, designed, created or adapted for senior users ensuring they make the most of their purchases.
Roger Moors, CEO of SEEM said he was delighted that Miles had won the award adding that many senior members of society would now benefit from this support and be able to access technology that they may feel is a little intimidating at times.
Pictured, Miles receiving the SEEM Award from special guest, Simon Woodroffe OBE founder of ‘Yo’ Sushi’…
‘The Social Business Dragons’ Den is part of the Building Enterprise project managed by Community Partnerships at the University of Nottingham and led by Roger Moors, CEO of SEEM and Jeanne Booth, Chair of the East Midlands Fellowship of the RSA’.
Want to pitch to the Dragons?
Have you got an idea for a social business to pitch to the Dragons? Here’s the rules:
You must be living in the city of Nottingham to pitch.
Pitch Perfect Event – 11th May 2015, 6.00pm to 9.00pm
Nottingham Writer’s Studio 25 Hockley NG1 1FP Nottingham
This workshop will take you through the steps for preparing your pitch and equip you to present your ideas to different audiences. It will be invaluable for anyone who wants to practice their pitch and improve their chances of winning a prize at the Social Business ‘Dragon’s Den’ on 14th May.
If you are a UK based social enterprise, and bursting with good ideas, then this year’s Ignite Challenge could be just for you.
Do you have ideas that can be deployed, to enable the imaginative and efficient use of energy resources, which will contingently change people’s lives…then the Ignite Challenge 2015 is a ‘must look at’ for you?
‘We are looking for the brightest business ideas that use energy to make a difference in people’s lives’.
You can secure, if successful, between 50,000 Pounds to 2 million Pounds in order to make your idea a reality. The finalists will be asked to pitch their idea to a panel of energy industry and social enterprise experts during June 2015.
There are a number of interesting articles and discussion available on the financial and technology news boards at the moment. FinTech is something of a buzz word, being synonymous with innovation in banking technology. There is, however, a wider discourse at large. Can the major banks innovate generally?
UX Magazine recently published a detailed article, by Alexander Rauser, a tech specialist based in Dubai. Alexander argues that banks are currently responding to new advances in banking technology, perhaps rather slowly, and are now beginning to take a view of market changes and new start-ups in the finance sector.
We would argue that the the emergence of the Social Business sector, impact investing and the ideas behind Social Finance, are all part of this press of new ideas into a very traditional market place.
The Rauser thesis holds that major banks have recently made significant change in some areas…
“They have designed online banking processes that improve how banks can interact with their customers, how they can resolve problems, how they can provide information and largely improve the banking experience.
Back office systems have enabled banks to outsource administrative and customer service roles.
The chip and pin and contactless payment systems have revolutionised payment processes—cash is likely to soon be redundant”.
All well and good, but to survive, Rauser argues, the major names we know need to achieve significantly more, namely…
“Growth in revenue and profits.
Bridging gaps in products, services, and processes designed by the bank.
Saving operational costs.
Offering convenience to the customer and supporting customer retention.
Enabling staff with tools that help solve customer problems”.
Recent European on-line banking services have, like the list above, responded to the customer satisfaction challenge in new ways. Not ony by being available on-line, but integrating e-commerce functionality directly into their account provision to satisfy the non-technical solution demands of their customers.
Rauser goes on to discuss nine other key areas that banks can affect or implement in their relationship with customers to better deploy technology, trust and bank/client interaction.
Amongst these are some ideas that must cause traditional bankers of the old school some palpitations. These include extending reward programmes to include more direct ‘gamification’, thereby enhancing what the banks may discover about your lifestyle and spending choices.
The development of ‘social banking’, allowing customers to spend and interact with their bank on new media channels. Rauser cites the Commercial Bank of Dubai, which now has a Facebook app, allowing customers to interact and commit transactions on mobile or desktop ecosystems.
Another move, cited in the Rauser article is the wider introduction of the ‘concierge’ in personal banking. Long a feature for very wealthy clients, some banks are now extending this sort of service to ‘regular’ current account holders.
What all of the initiatives mentioned above seem to be about is communication.
Is this not a return to the town/regional banking interfaces of a previous century? A bank talking, empathetically, with confidence and professionalism to its client base. Where the customer has rising loyalty to his or her bank and approaches banking innovation with real confidence. Assured that the bank actually populates the same world as the client.
We would argue that, despite the new innovations in Social Finance and Social Business we would obviously champion, the approach of key players in the Social Finance market place is very much based upon and conditioned by, these ‘old is new’ interactions.
The opportunity to embrace social outcome as a key business aim, by complex organisations of any size, needs a banker who listens, is available and who understands both the metrics of the business and the philosophy of the declared social aim.