Sowing the idea

With the weather getting a little cooler and wetter, now is the time to turn to cultivation, at last. In this short article, you can find some ideas, concepts and web links to help you craft your project ideas  for a social enterprise in the hope that it flowers into reality.

Seedbed notes for a socent - image and web link
Grab our notes here (pdf)

Our notes are broad picture elements for discussion and sparking ideas.

No-one knows your community, group or collection of committed individuals for the project like you do!

You might be creating an agenda for the discussion of first principles, using the notes as a talk to support your work or pulling out some key concepts so that you can explain them to your group or community.  We hope that our notes help?

We would certainly use the content, and distribute copies, if you asked us to speak about your project at an event or a meeting. That way, conceptual information becomes grounded knowledge at the local level, we would argue.

If you embraced all the techniques and tools linked to in the narrative perhaps the noise would drown out the signal.

On the other hand, we have utilised the thinking of everyone from the technical focus of the United Nations, the depth of experience at Social Enterprise UK, to the business ‘nous’ of the Harvard Business Review.

It’s sometimes difficult not to sound ‘preachy’, when discussing first principles. That is not our intent. Rather, to use our notes, and the issues to come, to establish some sound footings for everyone to embrace, on every step of the enterprise journey.

If you have yet to take your first community group ‘conceptual’ step into the ‘seed-bed’, we hope you find something here.

As always, if we can help, just ask us.

 

 

Starting your social enterprise?

Social Enterprise UK, with the support of generous sponsorship by NatWest Bank, have just published their ‘Start Your Social Enterprise’ booklet.

This is a great primer on social enterprise, clearly laid out and packed with information for those of you about to start your SocEnt journey.

Start Your Social Enterprise cover image and web link
See more here – pdf

You can view, print or download a copy of this publication here (pdf).

The chapters include sections on Mission, Market and Money, as well as Marketing and Branding and the all important Business Plan.

There is also a very clear grid format page which illustrates the choices of good governance you can pursue, in order to control and support your Social Enterprise ambitions as a community.

We particularly liked the SEUK section on Looking After Yourself.

It is easy, in the whirl of excitement and drive to make things happen to forget about individual well-being in pursuit of the goal. We have repeated the sensible advice below…

”Pay yourself properly – as soon as is practically possible, pay
yourself properly; some social entrepreneurs pay other people
first in the organisation, but everyone needs to live…

Find a mentor – a mentor is someone independent outside your organisation
to talk to who can provide advice and support to you; organisations like
UnLtd and the School for Social Entrepreneurs will often link you to mentors
as part of their support, but you may be able to identify your own…

Be part of networks – there are lots of local, regional and national groups and
networks for social enterprises, from national bodies like Social Enterprise UK
to the Social Enterprise Places across the country to local and regional networks
like SELNET in Lancashire or SEEE in the East of England; they will often run
events, send newsletters with information, and provide connections to others. (…and SocEntEastMids too…Ed).

Don’t neglect family and friends – take time out, spend time with
the people you like and love, and you will be better refreshed, more
focused and more productive when you return to the enterprise…

Keep learning – this is a fast-moving world, and there are new developments,
opportunities and information to find out about; events and newsletters can
help with this, as can podcasts or books on business and social enterprise…”

Source: Social Enterprise UK, Start your social enterprise, p.13   Accessed 02.08.2017

A useful addition to your armoury when building your community business to effect change.

We recommend it as a great starting point for changing the world, or even a bit of it in the immediate vicinity at first!


If the SocEntEastMids team can help you reflect on your start- up plans, you can contact us here. You can find our enterprise and support philosophy here.

Taking a new view

Digging a hiole - image
Getting the right direction of travel first really helps!

Sometimes, in a committee room or at your office desk, starting a new community enterprise – or entertaining the very thought – can be a bit like the image above.

SocEntEastMids logo and web link - About us.Here at SocEntEastMIds we are trying to build a new starting point. A resource for information about social enterprise, news and stories from successes, and those that didn’t go well. To promote understanding and to get easy access to a community project road map.

First principles are important and you can find a good read about building social businesses on our Good Reads page here. We will be expanding our library of good reads in the future. (It’s been our road-map for a long time now too…Ed.)

Having a chat about your idea is also important too. Not all project ideas grow, but those that do invariably begin by talking to experienced practitioners, even informally. You get an idea about a business landscape before you enter it. SocEntEastMIds is happy to have a conversation – contact us here.

Social Enterprise in the UK - British Council - cover image and web link
View, print or download your book here – pdf

The British Council have published a great resource, Social Enterprise in the UK, a sort of ‘SocEnt primer’ and an illustrated overview of the social business sector. One of the best we know.

It covers everything you might need to know about social enterprise and community business – from governance to diversity, from incubation to consortia.

You can download your free copy here. It’s a big book, packed with information and structural insight.

 

If we can help pick a chapter and we’ll come and talk to you about it.  Contact us here.

If you need it, pick a chapter, and we’ll create a one hour workshop and come and deliver it to you.  Contact us here.

We are particularly keen to hear from community groups, faith groups, childcare and education settings of all kinds who are beginning to wrangle with ‘sustainability’.

No charge and, as our Partnership Australian colleagues say, ‘no worries’. You can find out more SocEntEastMids on our About Us page here.


UK Social Enterprise Awards 2018 – register closing soon

UK Social Enterprise Awards 2018 - image and web link
UK Social Enterprise Awards 2018 – register now…
  • Submission deadline: Now extended to Sunday 15th July, 2018…

Nominations close this Friday 6th July, for the UK Social Enterprise Awards 2018 – so you have a little time to to complete that submission to Social Enterprise UK.

Categories up for grabs include:

Category 1 – UK Social Enterprise

Category 2 – One to Watch

Category 3 – Prove It: Social Impact

Category 4 – ‘Buy Social’ – Market Builder

Category 5 – Social Investment Deal of the Year

Category 6 – Health & Social Care Enterprise

Category 7 – Consumer Facing Enterprise

Category 8 – Education, Training & Jobs Social Enterprise

Category 9 – Environmental Social Enterprise

Category 10 – Tech for Good: Technology Social Enterprise

Category 11 – Women in Social Enterprise

Category 12 – International Impact

Category 13 – Transformative Community Business

Category 14 – Employee Engagement

You can see the full application process, qualifications and how to register on the pages of Social Enterprise UK here.

The timetable for the award process looks like this:

  • Friday 6th July – UK Awards nominations close
  • early August – shortlisted applicants notified
  • mid-August – shortlisted applicants to submit governing documents and management accounts
  • September – judging panels meets to assess applications
  • October/early November – heat finals held in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales
  • Wednesday 28th November – UK Social Enterprise Awards 2018 ceremony for all 14 categories

If you are preparing an entry, good luck from all of us at SocEntEastMIds.

 

Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year!

 

The very best 2018 possible for all your enterprise…

Social Saturday 2017

A date for the diary – Saturday 14th October 2017 – Social Saturday.

See more from Social Enterprise UK

‘Social Saturday is an annual campaign which inspires consumers to buy from social enterprises, businesses that put people and planet first. It is led by the national body for social enterprises, Social Enterprise UK (SEUK) and is supported by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.’

In 2016 over sixty events took pace across the UK, and this year there are lots of ways in which to get involved at home and work.

You might be a consumer looking for a social enterprise gift; work in a local authority and keen to support social enterprises in your borough; or a business looking to buy from social enterprises to improve your supply chain.

Source: https://www.socialenterprise.org.uk/social-saturday-2017

Buy Social Corporate Challenge

Led by Social Enterprise UK in partnership with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Business in the Community, a number of forward-thinking corporate businesses are opening up their supply chains to the UK’s 70,000 social enterprises. The ambition is to collectively spend £1 billion with social enterprises by 2020.  Why not join them.

Local Authorities

Within local authority settings social enterprises can play a number of key roles in your supply chain. As ethical social businesses thay can provide services to the public, fromhealth support to transport, or deliver environmental projects to protect green spaces and foster good community interaction and engagement.

Things you might do in the LA area…

  • Organising visits to local social enterprises for MPs and Councillors
  • Put on event bringing together social enterprises in your area. This could be a social enterprise marketplace or a networking event bringing together social enterprises with other key stakeholders in the area
  • Raising awareness of the Social Saturday through your Council’s communications channels

Lets make Social Saturday 2017 another fantastic day for your social enterprise.

IGNITE – the Big Energy Idea 2017

Back again in 2017, Ignite are again looking forward to advance investment readiness and idea development for the brightest in the social enterprise energy sector.

Advancing social impact in the energy sector – with the support of Centrica.

If you are over 16 years of age, resident in the UK and looking to develop your energy business potential…then you should apply to the Ignite Social Enterprise challenge. With investment available from betwwen £50k and £2m, then put your energy, enthusiasm and nascent business in the best place to ‘give it wings’.

You need to contact ignite (at ) centrica.com to discuss your idea and to obtain an application form. The deadline for the simple first round is 31st January, 2017.

You can see fuller details and the complete eligibility criteria here – http://ignitesocialenterprise.com/challenge/

 Icon for Adobe PDF   Download a pdf of Frequently Asked Questions here.

You’ll get support and a brilliant networking opportunity in the energy sector if you are successful. Don’t let the light go out on your idea…IGNITE IT


From the archive:

We last featured Ignite on the pages of Mining the SEEM in 2015. Check out that year’s process and previous winners for even more background.

£5.5m Northern Impact Fund launches for social enterprises

 

Imaginaitive with funding, secure in it’s mission for social enterprise – The Key Fund…

Key Fund, a long-standing investor in community and social enterprises, is delivering the Northern Impact Fund, aimed at new and early stage enterprises who are seeking finance to support growth.

Matt Smith, CEO of the Key Fund, said: “With this fund we’re offering finance of up to £150k, but typical investments will be around £50k, with up to 20% of the amount available as grant. The Key Fund was one of the early pioneers in this space, and our original model was based on a grant and loan mix, so we’re really excited to be going back to that original model. It’s long been our belief that grants can play a very important role in helping new and smaller social enterprise become more robust.”

Source: The Key Fund web site – thekeyfund.co.uk  Accessed 25.09.2016

A new blended grant and loan fund, the Key Fund package looks to secure sector deals in the £5,000 to £150,000 range. Applications are accepted from across the North and Midlands, with the Fund looking to realise 46 deals a year.

At a flat rate of 6.5% interest, the average loan term secured is expected to be three years.

Interested in business development on these terms, as a social/community enterprise.  See the links below…

Find a full copy/Press Release about the new fund here

Find a full grant/investment profile for the new Fund on-line here

Think Enterprise!

A new magazine, Think Enterprise, from the IOEE.

‘The Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs has been over 15 years in the making and exists to make sure that all those involved in enterprise are able to access the support they need, when they need it’.

Whether your interest lies in tracking SFEDI Centres of Excellence or in developing apprenticeships and wider learning in business, then Think Enterprise has something of interest for you.

Be sure to check out pages 16 & 17, with their 2016 Enterprise Awards almost upon us, if only to read of the developmental success of others can in itself an inspiring and confidence building thing as you grow your own business, whatever sector you are in.

You can find the IOEE on-line here.