Category Archives: SocEntEastMids

All you need to know about submitting a successful CIC application

From the Office of the Regulator of Community Interest Companies

Sign up to our “All you need to know about submitting a successful application ” webinar taking place on 25th February 11am-12pm here

webinar attendee at the keyboard...image
Preparing for my webinar!

‘This is your chance to get some tips on how to complete a successful application of incorporation or conversion to a community interest company, and to acquire further information on what the Regulator looks at when considering an application and solutions to the common errors that we see.’

 

 

You can sign up for this helpful event here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/5109013132460694030

Webinar image: Austin Distel, Creative Commons, Unsplash

 

New: Social Impact Measurement Toolbox

Our friends at Social Enterprise East of England have just launched a new social impact measurement tool. We like it.

SIMbox image and web link
Discover more here…

The SEEE toolkit has six distinct sections, designed to help smaller organisations to understand their impact. By methodically gathering evidence, reflecting on it and transposing the information into useful data presentations.

Giving the information and responses, which we all collect in the social business sector, an organised and accessible face.

Using the toolkit you will work through themes around information collection, engagement, conversations, outcomes, data processing and organised planning and dissemination.

The toolkit is not free, but your licence enables up to five people in the organisation to collaborate and contribute to process. As well have access to all the worksheets you create on the toolbox system to move your information project forward.

You can discover more here: https://seeeimpactbox.co.uk/

Helping you to present your impact in an organised, clear way – the SEEE SIM Toolbox.


You can discover more development tool kits on our web pages here

SocEntEasMids logo image and web link

Rural Economy Toolkit

Rural economy Toolkit - cover image
View, print or download a copy here…

Poverty and economic and social exclusion can often be invisible in rural areas, we would argue. The trees are no less green, the landscape no less bucolic, if the individual residents or communities are economically and socially disenfranchised.

During 2020 and our following of the thrashing dragon’s tail that is Covid, the media is full of economic data, socio-economic opinion and, perhaps the newest media feature, the ubiquitous graph.

How many of us, we wonder, fully understand the context of the data we are being asked to support or accept. How many of our communities can use data to successfully mount the argument that their’s is the community that needs to be refreshed and supported too?

There is a new toolkit on the block in 2020.

The Institute of Economic Development (IED) and the Rural Services Network (RSN) have devised a new practitioner-focused toolkit which is intended as a guide for “anyone seeking to raise rural relevance in the economic agenda”.

  • This pivotal report looks at the current policy drivers and meta-trends governing the development of the rural economy.
  • There is a strong section on the collection and analysis of data to establish the needs and desired outcomes for a given community of interest.
  • Finally, the document looks at best practice in the rural environment, ranging across coping with ageing in communities, wealth creation and digital expansion, or the need for it.

There is nothing in the toolkit that will be radical for the dedicated, urban social entrepreneur. What the toolkit does is to translate ambitions into a rural context, helping the players in communities to shape and define their developmental argument.

The toolkit also offers, we think, very sound thinking in its data analysis sections on how deep to drill for data, how to manage and structure what you find and finally, what the output should look like.

All skills and limitations that any or all researched arguments for economic development can use. Be they rural or devoutly urbanist in approach.

You can discover more here – https://ied.co.uk/insights/the_rural_economy_toolkit/

We wish all our readers, clients and new friends in 2021 the very best of everything and a brighter, busier, more convivial context for their projects…


Social Innovation Strategy in UK Social Enterprises

Our partnership was pleased to make a contribution to a research project recently, which sought to define what and how Social Innovation practices improve the social innovation culture of UK Social Enterprises.

The research project, was realised through the joint intellectual energy of Dr. Maria Granados, a senior lecturer in Innovation in the School of Management & Marketing at the University of Westminster and Iraci João-Roland, an Assistant Professor at the Federal University of Sao Paulo in Brazil.

Discover more here…

You can discover the interim findings, Social Innovation Strategy in UK Social Enterprises, ahead of the full publication of an academic report, here.

The core assumptive definition of Social Innovation for the project was that of ”...a novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable, or just than existing solutions and for which the value created accrues primarily to society as a whole rather than private individuals”. (Source: Phills et al., 2008, p. 36)

Some of the key findings of interest to us clearly reflected our experience of SocEnt development and community business/community development processes in the past.

 

  • Community is the source of the innovative process…

 

  • Design thinking stimulates the search for solutions through experimentation and quick action, is iterative, is based on collaborative work and facilitate the involvement of users (beneficiaries), who are the centre of the innovative process.

 

  • The agile method facilitates the communication and integration between several actors involved in the innovation process by dividing the project into stages.

 

  • Using the knowledge, competency, partners and relationships that already exist in the SE is a viable option to encourage innovative activities.

(This latter implication is in fact the basis of our project delivery at SocEntEastMids – we share the knowledge and expertise for free at the point of engagement…Ed.)

  • Alignment between employees’ personal interest / belief and social enterprise mission and dual role of client and employee are a powerful booster for intra-preneurship.

(For us, again, culture and mission are irrevocably intertwined…Ed).

Finally, we were both delighted and surprised to see the modest size of the innovatory organisations included and the durability of their projects. Fourteen years of age was the average.

We understand the research team are still open to engagement from the UK SocEnt sector regarding the process of social innovation. (See contact details in the report above.)

Long, may the innovation last!

How to speak? We all know that…!

Update 15th November 2020

We really liked this analysis of Guy Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 rule for business pitches. The original article, published by Amardeep Parmar in the Entrepreneurs Handbook, nicely captures a 10 point plan for pitching your business idea.

Originally framed for corporate tech entrepreneurs, don’t be put off. The concepts can also hold good for social enterprises thinking of pivoting all or part of their business to reflect new circumstances.  New community businesses responding to the request ‘…come and tell us about your project/business idea‘ will find the simple brevity useful, we would argue. Particularly if you are having a ‘where do we start’ moment!

Discover your convincing ten point plan here.


Original skills development content:

This is a film about the art of the presentation. It can help you to acquire the skill in assembling your knowledge, the making of a telling argument to convince your audience about your community project, your funding renewal or your pending impact investment, amongst many possible goals.

Delivered last year (2019) by the late Professor Patrick Winston at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT), it is ostensibly for would be academic scientists. But there is much to discover about your own existing skill set, your preconceived ideas about your audience and it also delivers challenging ways to maximise your effectiveness.

We watched it in the office, as part of an exercise to think about refreshing the ways we use to pitch, for a new project we have coming up.

We winced as we realised we had delivered ‘death by PowerPoint’ sessions in the past, and some of us had allowed our purple prose to even cross the whiteboard, cross the meeting room and exit out into the car park.

Professor Winston was sharing a life time of thought. We think everyone will find something in it…

Source: Originally published as part of the MIT OpenCourseWare programme.


How to write well and effectively?

This filmed lecture, from the University of Chicago by Larry McEnerney, is about writing for the real world. It is delivered in accessible language and the key ideas have real relevance for writing in the Social Enterprise/Social Impact sector.

 

For McEnerney ‘writing in the real world’ can involve the use of jargon, being able to identify your readers, clarity of purpose and the use of the written word ‘to change the world’. He also has some interesting takes on the process of being paid to write.

Practical examples of the techniques and the understanding of your text start at around the 20 minute mark.

Speak well, write well, pitch well – improve the reach of your project, your idea or your community ambitions.

Source: First publ. 2015, as part of the UChicago Social Sciences Leadership Lab programme


The CIC – our most popular call for support!

By far the most numerous query we get, both for sources of information, or for direct advice and guidance, is around the governance, formation and change relating to Community Interest Companies.

Below are links to the latest forms, examples and formal guidance notes on Gov.uk – if we can help with your changes, formally or informally, do  just ask – our services are free.   (Sourced: August 2020)

Board meeting image: You X Ventures, Creative Commons, Unsplash

Forming a CIC

Key link https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/form-cic36-application-to-form-a-community-interest-company

Formal Note ‘When applying to form a community interest company (CIC), this form should be submitted to the CIC Regulator alongside the appropriate Companies House forms, memorandum of association, articles of association and payment’.


Transfer of Assets

Key link https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cic53-application-to-transfer-assets

Formal NoteWhen applying to transfer assets of a community interest company (CIC), consent should be submitted to the CIC Regulator signed by a director of the company, detailing assets, value and actual consideration received’.


The CIC Report

Key link https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/form-cic34-community-interest-company-report

Formal NoteThere are 2 types of community interest company (CIC) report: detailed and simplified. The majority of CICs complete the simplified report.

The detailed report is reserved for CICs that have more complex financial arrangements. If you complete this type of report, you might need to get professional advice in relation to the financial information sections.

CIC reports are placed on the public register and made available for the public, which provides an opportunity to showcase your CIC’s activities and the benefits provided for the community over the last year. Your report does not have to be especially detailed, but you should identify highlights’.


Converting a Company to a CIC

Key link https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/form-cic37-application-to-convert-a-company-to-a-cic

Formal NoteWhen applying to convert a company to a community interest company (CIC), this form should be submitted to the CIC Regulator alongside the appropriate Companies House forms, memorandum of association, articles of association and payment’.


Change of Objects

Key link https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/form-cic14-altering-the-objects-of-a-community-interest-company

Formal Note  – The community interest statement
…a statement of the steps that have been taken to bring the proposed alteration to the notice of people affected by the company’s activities (signed by each of the company’s directors).

When applying to alter the objects of a community interest company (CIC), this form should be submitted to the CIC Regulator alongside:

Companies House form CC04 – to notify the change of the company’s objects
a signed copy of the special resolution to alter the objects of the company
a copy of the articles of association, as altered’.

See also https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/notify-the-change-of-companys-objects-cc04


Other Useful Links:

Office of the Regulator of Community Interest Companies

The Community Interest Company Blog from Gov.uk

Dissolving a Community Interest Company from Voluntary Action: South Lanarkshire


HM Government Business Support – new web site

Developing our business idea…

Update: 25th Mar 2020 – Source: www.businesssupport.gov.uk  (Abstract of web page)

Coronavirus

‘The Government is supporting businesses and their employees through a package of measures during this period of unprecedented disruption. This website helps you find the right support, advice and information to help with the impact of coronavirus (Covid-19) on your business. The Government is doing its best to stand behind businesses and is asking businesses to do their best to stand behind their workers.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): If you are looking for information on healthcare advice for employers and support for businesses please click here.’


Gov.uk now has a new Business Support cluster of web pages for the new or developing business. A basket of resources for new or just developing business across…

Although ostensibly for mainstream business development and entrepreneurship, there are still elements of the site which will have useful content for social business or community enterprise, we would argue.

Under the Finance tab are resources on business funding alternatives, dealing with payments and marketing.

The Leadership collection of resources has an interesting range of support links for women in business, both networking and geographically, women in rural business, for example.

if your business is both entrepreneurial and inventive, then the Intellectual Property cluster of links has useful links – from the always interesting British Library Business and IP Centre, to a useful On-line IP Health check.

You can also reach the Business Support Service on the phone, 0300 456 3565 – 9am to 6pm, or use the Chat Now service direct from their web pages.

Ideas image: Tirachard Kumtanom, Creative Commons, Pexels.com

Social Enterprise – the European context

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.

Get your copy here…(pdf)

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.

See more here: https://www.mrassociates.org/knowledge-base/specified-accommodation/cat-1-exempt-accommodation/tell-me-more-about-registered-societies


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, from an executive guru which decried, as a management technique, the announcing of your plans…lest you stumble and they all come to nought. (All business is risk, even a ‘social’ one!…Ed)

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 those 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 highly 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

  • To maintain and continue to consolidate activity with our clients for SocEntEastMids in the six counties region of its published focus – free delivery of support, advice and resources for the creation of  socially useful enterprise.

 

    • A new brand and energy for change
  • 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.

 

  • To scope and deliver this rural enterprise support across The Midlands, East Anglia, Lincolnshire etc., where rural enterprise is, arguably, remote from the national policy debate and one to one encouragement is thinly spread.

 

  • 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.

 

  • 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.

 

  • To focus our Muntjac energy initially on a Enterprise Change Hub, development of Community Banking networks, and Employee Ownership advice and change support. This latter may well spill over into help in creating partnerships, employee owned businesses, co-operatives, measuring impacts for baseline and business plans etc.

 

  • 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.

Seasonal best wishes from all of us!

This is a great volume on Community Wealth Building, newly available from Polity Press. Inspired thinking – drivers for action.

Free delivery when you buy this book from SocEntEastMids…

Joe Guinan and Martin O’Neill make the case that ‘…a new model of economic development is emerging in our cities and communities. Offering real, on the ground solutions to localities and regions battered by successive waves of disinvestment, de-industrialisation, displacement and dis-empowerment…(new) approaches capable of producing more sustainable, lasting and equitable economic outcomes’. (Source The Case for CWB, p.1)

Buy this book here

This book, and the work of the Centre for Local Economic Strategies in Manchester were inspirational in 2019. You can read our response to this development thinking, and our micro-business approach to change, here.

We still welcome all enquiries for our services and support in 2020. SocEntEastMids – free resources for the building of socially useful business.