Category Archives: Innovation

Forward to 2020

Looking for a bright future…

In our last post we reflected on time passed and have turned our attention to the future, thinking about organisational development in our social business for 2020.

We read a post on Medium recently, which decried, as a management technique, the announcing of your plans…lest you stumble and they all come to nought.

We have thought about this too, and have come to the decision, given the ubiquity of the internet and new media, that laying out plans, even one’s not fully ready for complex delivery yet, is a sound way to make contact with like-minded community actors and organisations. Our own motives and action plan are below…

Inspirational Beginnings

We have attended this year ((2019) a number of events organised by the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES), in both Liverpool and London. Designed to create awareness of, and engagement with, the Community Wealth Building (CWB) agenda. In this aim Neil McInroy and his highly skilled team, have been effective.

This engagement has started us thinking about how CWB can be energised to reach the micro and small community facing social businesses or organisations across our region.

It is clear from the recently published documents below, that this community mercantile sector is clearly woven into the multivariate practice, target segments and policy focus of the CWB change matrix.

Key Documents for Strategic Development

CLES have recently published both Community Wealth Building 2019 – theory practice and next steps, as well as a Manifesto for Local Economies.  you can view, print or download both these key documents below…

View, print or download

Community Wealth Building 2019 is a profoundly important document in contextualising local action, policy change and in illuminating the tried and tested, as well as emerging methodologies of change in CWB practice.

Whilst recognising that the new (CLES) Centre for Excellence, funded by the Barrow Cadbury Trust, has a primary focus on Local Authority/governmental policy issues for securing the largest change and development ‘hit’ possible, we think that the same concepts of CWB and the intellectual change mechanisms involved can equally be applied to the small marginalised communities and, importantly, rural England.

 

View, print or download…

The Manifesto for Local Economies contains the building blocks of an exciting new CWB landscape. We do not see any of its elements as revolutionary, but rather see the policy and delivery skein exposed in the document as a progressive, moral and inclusive agenda for the individual, the company/charity, the region and government to embrace.

What The Manifesto calls for is an inclusive, fair and ownership diverting programme of change. It does not decry or deny capital, the market or the organisation – it refocuses them to broad community benefit.

We subscribe to the vision.

The action plan – the micro-contribution

  1. To maintain and continue to consolidate clients for SocEntEastMids in the six counties region of its published focus – free delivery of support, advice and resources for the creation of Social Enterprise.
  2. A new brand and energy for change
  3. To create a new brand/web site of focus and delivery mechanism, based in Cambridge UK, to engage with rural communities in England around some key elements of the CWB agenda.
  4. To scope and deliver this rural enterprise support across The Midlands, East Anglia, Lincolnshire etc., where rural enterprise is, arguably, remote from national policy change.
  5. To develop a programme of work, addressing community facing organisations – developing focused CWB agenda items to the unique, particular and social landscapes of our chosen geography.
  6. To develop a cost recovery mechanism for external speakers and critical advice, event attendance etc., whilst still delivering our core elements of free advice, web and communication services – with any surplus created directed to support our sister delivery at SocEntEastMids, as is normal for our Partnership. To help maintain the sustainability of the programme.
  7. To focus our Muntjac energy initially on Business Growth Hub creation, Community Banking, and Employee Ownership. This latter may well spill over into help in creating partnerships, employee owned businesses, co-operatives, measuring impacts for baseline plans etc.
  8. To make Cambridge a ‘go to’ place for CWB in the rural environment. (We have large car parks…Ed).
Spiky, yet endearing …excuse the pun!

The Muntjac is a persistent, pervasive and spiky creature in the rural environment. We like them.

Our strategy and delivery for the CWB programme, although modest, will hopefully develop the same profile.

If you would like to be part of a new CWB initiative in the rural East, do use our site contact facilities and have an opening conversation with Tim.

Social Procurement?

‘We are such spendthrifts with our lives, the trick of living is to slip on and off the planet with the least fuss you can muster. I’m not running for sainthood. I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer, who puts back into the soil what he takes out.’ ― Paul Newman : Actor

Sustainability, going green, recycling, food waste, ethical business, community, evironmentally friendly, food labelling, consumer responsibility – Google any keyword from the above and acres of electronic landscape will open up on your screen and tantalise you with calls for their individual priority.

But to make the world sustainable, right down to the house on the corner, or the single desk at your child’s school, we need a new narrative. One that is, effectively, a moderated form of capitalism…Social Enterprise is it.

Attempting to break completely the bio-rhythms of a capitalist system, arguably embedded in this country from 1750 and the start of the Industrial Revolution, is a very hard thing. To moderate behaviour, or flex direction of travel, is much easier.

If Social Enterprise is the deployment of business enterprise, not for gross personal profit, but to serve up a solution to a community need, then Social Procurement should be the keyword search to trump all others.

“Our entire system, in an economic sense, is based on restriction. Scarcity and inefficiency are the movers of money; the more there is of any resource the less you can charge for it. The more problems there are, the more opportunities there are to make money.

This reality is a social disease, for people can actually gain off the misery of others and the destruction of the environment. Efficiency, abundance and sustainability are enemies of our economic structure, for they are inverse to the mechanics required to perpetuate consumption.’ – Peter Joseph

Why Social Procurement?

Rebecca Dray in her recent article ‘What is Social Procurement‘ on the pages of Society Profits defines it thus…

‘Simply put, social procurement means buying regular goods and services directly or indirectly from social enterprises’.

In her article, Rebecca is rightly keen to focus on the high value SocEnt’s place on innovation and risk depletion. At the heart of a SocEnt lies not only care for community, not personal profit, but for also maximising community benefit .

This is the tipping point in the established supply chain, that can flex traditional corporate procurement policy and action to favour the SocEnt supplier.

In doing so, the vast corporate spend on Corporate Responsibility and Risk Mitigation can be resolved to a SocEnt procurement locus that presents the rationalisation and delivery of an agenda which guarantees ethical supply and community safety at a stroke.

As Dray would have it ‘…By nature of their social and environmental mission they also reduce environmental impact, avoid modern slavery, tackle water scarcity and so much more‘.

We can now, perhaps, slightly shade the Dray definition for Social Enterprise to read…

A social enterprise is a legal and social entity of moderated capitalism, that seeks through Social Procurement, to temper and dissolve the social ills of profit pursuit for damaging personal gain.

Not so fluid, perhaps, but effective none the less, we would argue.

The embrace of a telling argument and practical philosophy, Social Enterprise, must however be matched by the equally telling embrace of traditional business. To moderate or flex, as a goal, will always be more effective that outright revolution.

We also need to convince the non-SocEnt market of the need to join forces with our new movement.

Pat Villaceran, in a recent article on LinkedIn, entitled ‘5 Reasons Business Executives Stray Away From Social Movements‘, nicely frames the arguments corporate procurement specialists use to deflect social procurement innovation. Arguing, in the article, that the unwritten message from corporate institutions is that social entrepreneurship is somehow a less effective, minority and part-time project.

The Villaceran thesis debunks these arguments and presents evidence, very useful if you are pitching to a procurement team, just why the SocEnt supply decision is the right one. We recommend it to our readers.

The time for the ascension of SocEnt activity to be the catalyst for capitalist change is upon us. Indeed the very size of the SocEnt market place is staggering, as we have illustrated in a recent SocEntEastMids article.

Add your voice to the clamour, we know we are not alone….

“The great challenge of the twenty-first century is to raise people everywhere to a decent standard of living while preserving as much of the rest of life as possible.” ― Edward O. Wilson


Community Wealth Building Summit 2019

‘This June, join CLES for the second annual Community Wealth Building Summit!

CLES progressive economics - image and web link
Discover CLES thinking here…

 

UPDATE 17th June 2019

Due to demand the venue has changed. Now at…

The Florrie, (The Florence Institute), 377 Mill Street, Liverpool, L8 4RF


6 steps to build community wealth - booklet cover image and web link
Get your copy here…

Anna Birley and The Co-operative Party have produced a really useful guide to what Community Wealth Building is, in terms of definition, ideas for local action and how to campaign for effective local policy change.

You can view, print or download a .pdf copy of this booklet here

This CLES Summit is the UK’s only community wealth building event dedicated to celebrating successes, sharing ideas, exploring challenges and building the Community Wealth Building movement‘.

Source: CLES web pages       Get your ticket here

See new venue above!

The event will also feature the launch of the Community Wealth Building Centre for Excellence – a place to think about ownership, surplus distribution and the local economic flow in an entirely new way.

Who is the event for?

‘The Summit is for anyone who wants to build an economy that works for all. Over the last ten years, Community Wealth Building ideas have been taken up and applied by an ever-growing number of socially minded businesses and social and public sector organisations across the regions and countries of the UK.

This event will bring together people from across these sectors and places, from local authorities and credit unions to community owned football clubs and hospitals’.

We will be there? Will you? Make a long weekend of it and support the local economy in the North West too!

The SocEntEastMids team:

 

 

Hatch Impact Accelerator

Hatch, a South London charity,  design their peer accelerator programme to ‘…facilitate learning experiences with successful social entrepreneurs (those who have come before), where they can share their wisdom, knowledge and network with those who need it next‘.

Designed for existing social enterprises, keen to grow, with a small number of staff, but who are aiming to seek social investment or crowdfunding resources in the next year or two.

Their programme of support centres around the following thematic deliveries…

  • Peer-to-peer learning environment
  • Pro-bono legal consulting
  • Procurement prospects
  • Financial coaching
  • Crowdfunding project
  • Funding opportunities

Here at SocEntEastMids we specialise in pro-bono support to the micro-enterprise or the nascent, yet to be connected, social entrepreneur.

However, we recognise that the Hatch Accelerator model offers professional and profound structural advancement for social entrepreneurs and social enterprises who are approaching critical mass.

You can discover the full details of this programme, and the fees and duration of the support here: https://www.impact.hatchenterprise.org/

Registration closes: 1 April 2019 – Programme starts: 12 April  2019

As places are limited to 15 delegates per annum, there is a short expression of interest questionnaire, helping Hatch advise you directly on your application to the programme.

See more here – and if you do, good luck with your application!

Funding Community Housing – a landscape view

Update: 5th August 2019

George Clarke is beginning a campaign to re-energise social housing. Join him here.

‘TV architect and Big Issue cover star George Clarke’s petition, aimed at persuading the government to build 100,000 council houses a year, wins massive approval on its first day…’ Source: Big Issue


Working in communities, for us, involves delivering free support and resources to the nascent individual social entrepreneur or the community group, incorporated or not, involved in the transition to an active community focused business.

The nature of developing community business, or individual entrepreneurship, often involves a wider dialogue about social policy and the quality of life for residents in the broadest terms. Housing is often part of that narrative.

SocEntEast Mids does not offer advice on matters concerning investment, banking or legality. We freely collaborate with community players to share our decades of aggregate experience in community development and enterprise engagement.

That said, as the conversation in the meeting room, or community centre eddies and swirls towards a conclusion, it is useful to be able to tender some broad signposting around themes of concern, as part of that engagement process.

The narratives, data and contacts below, all freely available in the public domain, are an attempt to provide such a signpost.


A really useful place to start is the Power to Change: Business in Community Hands pages. here you can find grants that ‘…support projects that build of refurbish affordable homes’.

Homes in Community Hands ‘…are focusing on community groups in the early stages of their community-led housing development to support feasibility and predevelopment work, leading up to submitting a planning application. Our research has shown that is where funds are needed most to get projects moving’.

Discover more here: https://www.powertochange.org.uk/get-support/programmes/community-housing/


Targeting Funding to Support Community-led Housing is a publication also from Power Change. Authored by Tom Archer, Anna Kear, Catherine Harrington – Power to Change August 2018.

Targeting funding - download image and web link...
Targeting funding – download here: pdf

This is an essential primer when thinking about engagement in any aspect of community led housing projects.

Development stages, funding stages and the current provision of the funding and financial support available are all clearly labelled here.

Also useful in the appendix of the publication is the advice given on how to do a SWOT analysis of funding need for your development stages.

 

 

 


Even more current is Helping Communities Build – A review of the Community Land Trust Funds and lessons for future support. Authors: Dr Tom Archer, Dr Stephen Green with Charlie Fisher | January 2019, this publication, was produced by Sheffield Hallam University and the Charities Aid Foundation.

Community-led housing schemes empower people, enrich local communities and improve the lives of residents. They can breathe new life into a village by offering affordable homes below market rate to families that are priced out of the area they live and work in.

The authors argue that CLT’s are a currently under deployed tool for community social enrichment, but non the less, this paper highlights the context of the mechanism and is, in our opinion, particularly honest and useful in making an assessment of obstacles and pinch points in any community housing scheme.

See more here…(pdf).

CAF and Power to Change also have a useful web article on a new source of funding available – Blended Finance Available for CLT’s. Authored by Anne-Helene Sinha, it is a new and pioneering offer in the marketplace.


CivilSociety.co.uk have a useful article by James Johnson – Should you invest in Social Housing?

Johnson’s argument is, essentially, that investors with a conscience can all help to alleviate the current housing crisis by investing in the sector. He is also strong on the weakness and re-directions  of central government in the housing mix over time…

…blame can be laid at the door of government. In 2009 (the last full year of Gordon Brown’s administration), Whitehall provided £11.4bn towards the cost of building homes. By 2015 (under David Cameron’s Conservative-led coalition), this had over halved to £5.3bn. More pertinently, perhaps, in terms of GDP, the fall is even more dramatic – it has dropped from 0.7 per cent to 0.2 per cent.

A depressing tale, well told with numbers to underscore the disparity of supply versus demand.


More useful links for data and context:

The Plan to End Homelessness, by Crisis, is also another salutory lesson in how housing and welfare policies have failed to work effectively, either with each other, or with the homeless to create sustainable and affordable solutions to the present crisis.

See the full report here

Big Society Capital also have data and information resources of Social Housing and Homelessness. You can see a sector snapshot and data from 2017 here… (pdf).

They also offer some useful case studies, in an article by their Investment Manager, Aman Johal, on the factoring of social investment to amplify housing and local facilities.

See more here: https://www.bigsocietycapital.com/about-us/previous-projects/housing-and-local-facilities


Editor’s Note:

SocEntEastMids does not offer banking, finance or legal advice. Our free resources and support is dedicated to sharing our decades of community enterprise experience collaboratively with the nascent social entrepreneur or ethical business minded community group.

We are happy to have a ‘social enterprise’ conversation at any time, and to donate free resources, to foster the aims of the sector.

Community Business Trade Up Programme

The School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) have, this 2019 New Year, published details of new, free learning and development courses for the leaders of the community business sector in the UK.

Free learning at SSE...image and web link
Free learning at SSE…see more

“Applications are open for the Community Business Trade Up Programme, run by the School for Social Entrepreneurs, in partnership with Power to Change.

This programme helps the leaders of community businesses in England. It focuses on growing income from trading, to improve impact and sustainability. It offers:

  • A learning programme: 12 days spread over nine months
  • A Match Trading grant of up to £10,000
  • A community of people running organisations like yours

There is no cost to you at any point”.

If this learning and funding opportunity is of interest to you and your community business, you can see the guidance and application notes here.

SSE are offering taster sessions across the regions, so that you can explore the opportunity, and you can find a taster session booking form here.

This learning programme runs from June 2019 to March 2020. 

The deadline to apply is 1pm on 14th February 2019. Explore all the details at SSE here.


Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme - image and web link
Read more here…

Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme

This SSE Programme may also be of interest to our readers. You can discover the details of the learning and support on offer from the programme partners here.

  • A learning programme (14 days spread over a year)
  • A grant
  • Mentoring
  • A supportive community

You can register your interest, and be notified when this year’s applications (2019/2020) are open on this web page at SSE…

https://www.the-sse.org/lbsep/


Start-up Day 2018

A series of free events at your local Business & IP Centre, from the British Library and local authorities.

Startup Day 2018 - image and web link
Book your free place in Nottingham here…

Not overtly dedicated to the Social Marketplace, but a day of free engagement, idea exploration and support-signposting from a variety of key players in the enterprise and tech market encouragement sectors.

DATE AND TIME:  Thu 20 September 2018    09:00 – 16:30 BST

LOCATION: Nottingham Central Library, Angel Row, Nottingham, NG1 6HP

Other venues and events are available on the day. See more at…

Birmingham, Cambridge, Norfolk, Northamptonshire and Sheffield.

Book a place and get that inspirational spark for your idea!

UK Social Enterprise Awards 2018 – nominees list

The nominations list for the 2018 UK Social Enterprise Awards have just been published.

SEUK - button image and web link
Discover more of SEUK here…

What a cavalcade of fantastic projects, across many impact themes, and a wide geographical spread. The list itself is evidence alone of a thriving, multi-dimensional social enterprise topography in the UK.

Read more about the awards at SEUK here.

Can you see a social enterprise or community change organisation in your area?

Category 1 – UK Social Enterprise of the Year (Sponsored by NatWest)

Auticon

Cafe Direct

Change Please

Point and Sandwick Power/Trust

School Space

Big Lemon

Hertfordshire Independent Living

Wildhearts Group

Allied Health Professionals Suffolk

Category 2 – One to Watch (Sponsored by GLL)

Revival Whitstable – Mind In Bexley Ltd

The Bread And Butter Thing

Minds Ahead

Hey Girls

FamilyCarersNet

The Integrate Agency CIC

Category 3 – Prove It: Social Impact (Sponsored by Employers for Childcare)

Company Shop

Recycling lives

Sharp Futures

Winter comfort for the homeless

Ealing Community Transport (ECT Charity)

Category 4 – ’Buy Social’ – Market Builder (Sponsored by PwC)

Amey

Hackney Co-operative Developments CIC

London Borough Of Tower Hamlets

The University Of Northampton

Category 5 – Social Investment Deal of the Year (Sponsored by Big Society Capital)

Resonance

Social And Sustainable Capital

Clearlyso

Business Enterprise Fund

SharpFutures

Category 6 – Health & Social Care Social Enterprise

Hertfordshire Independent Living Service

East Coast Community Healthcare

Designs in Mind

Baby Lifeline Training

Smile Together Dental CIC

Category 7 – Consumer Facing Social Enterprise (Sponsored by Co-op Group)

Birdsong

Cafédirect

Clarity Employment For Blind People

Fair For You Enterprise Cic

From Babies With Love

Juta Shoes

Madlug Cic

Miss Macaroon

Stand4 Socks

Toast Ale

Category 8 – Education, Training & Jobs Social Enterprise

Alive And Kicking

Enabling Enterprise

The Growth Company

The Hoxby Collective

Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) International

SharpFutures

Category 9 – Environmental Social Enterprise (Sponsored by Landmarc)

Camara Education

Energise Barnsley

Low Carbon Hub

The Skill Mill

The Bread And Butter Thing

Stand4 Socks

Category 10 – Tech for Good: Technology Social Enterprise (Sponsored by Linklaters)

Anglian Community Enterprise (ACE) CIC

Harley Therapy Ltd

Integrated Care 24

Meetwo Education Ltd

NOW Group

Viarama CIC

Category 11 – Women in Social Enterprise (Sponsored by Santander)

Sue Black

Tracey Bush

Rosie Ginday

Elaine Lilley

Marie Marin

Rose Marley

Amma Mensah

Liz Tapner

Category 12 – International Impact (Sponsored by British Council)

Cafe Direct

Skillmill

Camara Education

From Babies With Love

Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) International

Category 13 – Transformative Community Business

BH Live

Choice Housing Ireland

Coast And Vale Community Action

Company Shop

The Exchange Creative Community Cic

Made In Hackney

Category 14 – Employee Engagement

CDS CIC

East Coast Community Healthcare

Halo Leisure

Care Plus Groupk in the judging and award making process!

EBP

Congratulations to everyone, organisation and individual, on the nominations list. We wish you all the very best of luck in the judging and award making process.

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