A new edition of Social Enterprises and their Eco-systems in Europe is now available on the Europa web pages.
This cross-national look at social enterprise is a profoundly useful narrative for individuals, or community actors, who are interested in exploring, not only the deployment of governance forms, but also to understand the philosophical approach to social enterprise development, across time and geography.
You can download the UK analysis here. It provides the diligent reader with definitions of a SocEnt, and the governance forms currently used by UK enterprises with a social mission.
The work is strong on the historical context of SocEnt development in the UK, as well as offering a critique of the fiscal, governance and research frameworks that do, and will, affect the development of community focused enterprise in the future.
The document also contains a useful set of appendices, that offer insights into stakeholders at national level, a governance form comparison and quick reference guide, as well as a set of references for the text that are an ideal for ‘more reading’.
This ‘Country Document’ from Europa.eu is written by Fergus Lyon, Bianca Stumbitz and Ian Vickers. It deserves to be in your SocEnt development tool kit, we think.
MRA Associates, in their freely available knowledge base, have an interesting and informing article about registered societies, which those exploring new governance forms for social business may find useful.
Whether being old and feeling exposed when out after dark, or in full employment but doubting that the employment will continue beyond six months hence, the report offers a defining argument for the deployment of economic and social initiatives that put people, their sense of well being and compassionate economic energy at the heart of government thinking.
It is interesting that even across international borders, within Europe, the similarities in unease and concerns are duplicated across communities, whatever their defining local language.
‘Most of the insecurities reviewed in this policy brief have an economic component but are influenced by other factors too. For instance, perceptions of housing insecurity are influenced by tenant protection law, perceptions of old-age income insecurity are influenced by long-term care provision, and perceptions of healthcare insecurity are influenced by the presence or absence of healthcare coverage’.
The significance of having a ‘secure’ life is widely recognised. The United Nations’ 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights tells us that everyone has the right to ‘security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his (or her) control’ (Article 25).
In the key findings of the report it is stressed that ‘…only 1% of the EU population enjoys the highest level of security in all five types of social insecurity studied in this brief: personal, housing, healthcare, employment and old-age income. If more types were added, there might be nobody in the EU who feels free of any form of social insecurity’.
The five key measures of insecurity that the report comparatively assesses are…
…personal insecurity – of being personally unsafe (from crime, for instance)
…housing insecurity – of losing one’s home
…healthcare insecurity – of being unable to afford healthcare
…employment insecurity (for those in employment) – of losing one’s job and
being unable to find a new one
…old-age income insecurity – of not having an adequate income in old age
In their policy summary the report authors point out that government and state actors in the provision of services ‘…should be careful not to underestimate how widespread feelings of social insecurity are, especially more moderate forms. These may be early indicators of problems, so preventative policy-making should try to detect better, more muted levels, as well as higher levels of insecurity’.
This report attempts a broad assay of community feelings across Europe. No small scoping exercise in itself, but when executed as here, then it provides a wealth of evidence and support for the argument that the social enterprise model should become the defining economic and civitas service provision model.
We would argue!
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Sharing knowledge, developing a good idea and planning ahead?
If you are on a post-graduate course in Nottingham, in any discipline, and interested in starting your own business, then the Social Business Programme represents a great opportunity to develop your idea, share opportunities and to learn about the social business start-up sector.
From February to April 2015 the programme of events and conferences represent a great opportunity to develop your ideas in concert with a team Social Business specialists.
You can also meet us at a special postgraduate meeting of First Tuesday, Nottingham’s network for social businesses, on February 3rd, 2015. Social Business and social impact measures are part of the debate.
Places are free, but numbers are limited.
Key Programme Events:
3rd February, 2015 – First Tuesday, a Post-grad special event. Inspiration for the entrepreneur and a free drink for the first fifty people through the door! You can book here…
24th February, 2015 – What is good for business? Four different speakers offering you insights into key aspects of Social Business development. A Question and Answer Session will follow this, the first of four sessions in the programme.
“…how emerging technologies in the digital economy can transform society by the mobilisation of collective action, enable a more collaborative economy, new ways of making, citizen participation, sustainability and social innovation”.
This European initiative, connected by philosophy and concept, itself overcomes distance by the use of new technology. Bringing together organisations and key players on the innovative transformation of society through their use of the internet.
This can be in the creation of projects which develop a more collaborative economy, devise new ways of making, delivering a more open and democratic society, as well as using technology to bring forward new funding streams, accelerator and enterprise incubator programmes.
This whole spectrum of activity sits well with our own social finance mission, based upon strong ethical considerations, which deliver social output as a key return of the business plan.
We think DSI will continue to grow through 2015. Nesta and its partner organisations are holding an event in Brussels on the 17th February, 2015 to enable players in this new sector to engage, discuss and make new connections.
If you wish to explore DSI further, ahead of the event, the DSI Partnership has a web site that is worth exploring. You can see who the 1500 or so partner organisations are and access news and information on funding and research. You can also download a set of free resources. See more here.
Their succinct definition, of what DSI is, is given below….
“Digital Social Innovation is a type of collaborative innovation in which innovators, users and communities co-create knowledge and solutions for a wide range of social needs exploiting the network effect of the Internet.”
If you are interested in the transformative power of financial innovation, social change and new technology economies of scale, we think this is a movement worth tracking in 2015. The city, region or national movements in our sector will all find something of interest here.
We may even see you in Brussels?
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The EU made two major announcements this week, about programmes across Europe. Designed to sustain SME’s, who lack the collateral to enjoy secured lending. The announcements represent a new cohort of funds to broaden the business base of the small business sector.
The European Commission and the European Investment Fund (EIF) will deliver a new 100 million Euro fund. The Fund will be to bring new ideas to market. The Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) Fund will be available in 2015 and 2016.
Consortia of three to five members will be free to bid for the funds at any time. ‘EU officials expect grants to be between €1m and €2m’.
The executive also signed an agreement with the European Investment Fund. The Commission said ‘…this would open up €25 billion of potential finance for SMEs over the next seven years’.
The EIF provides risk finance to SME’s across Europe. It will give €1.3billion for SME financing, under the EU Competitiveness of Enterprises Programme.
The EIF will give that money to financial intermediaries such as banks or funds, who will in turn make it available to SMEs.
The EIF will appoint the intermediaries. There will be a call for expressions of interest and a due diligence process.
The Commission estimates that up to 330,000 SMEs will receive loans backed by the guarantees. Total lending will hit €21 billion. An average guaranteed loan will be €65,000 per firm.