Category Archives: Economic Thought

Social Saturday – coming in October

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Find out more…

Will you be ready for Social Saturday this year again? A date for your diary, 15th October 2016.

A whole day dedicated to the promotion of, awareness raising about and the engagement with new customers, clients and service users.

Get your Social Enterprise in full broadcast mode with the readily downloadable Media Pack from the Social Saturday web pages. A great resource.

Check our the ideas for promotion, templates for everything from press releases to a letter to your MP or elected members to give  your enterprise a boost, support Social Saturday in 2016.  Celebrate the work of your community with invited guests. Makes great copy!

emailIconMiniYou can always support the team at Social Saturday and add interest to your own energetic promotion by emailing news of your events or occasions to socialsaturday@socialenterprise.org.uk

Give your enterprise a boost, support Social Saturday in 2016.

Finance Innovation – the film

The Finance Innovation Lab have just launched a short film that nicely encapsulates their work, featuring the collaborative, facilitative and encouragement of change aspects of their work.

  • The Finance Innovation Lab seeks to help create alternative business models in the the finance sector.
  • It is a movement for advocacy, promoting financial sectoral change to key actors.
  • They also work to effect ‘change from within’, campaigning for the re-alignment of finance professions to a more equitable and fair model.

The Lab web site has an inciteful article, written by Angela Clements, founder of Fair For You. It shows the journey that a finance sector principal can be driven to follow, when the inequity of access to mainstream credit, for example, makes even more difficult the life of an economically disenfranchised family.

If you’re a full-on corporate banker, do watch the fim and explore the Finance Innovation Lab web pages. You might even turn a corner yourself!

Starting your new social business in 2016?

Planning your new social enterprise in 2016?

The Key Fund have a range of on-line resources available for the budding social entrepreneur, or social enterprise that is leaning towards developing its business in 2016.

You can find some simple and effective Key Fund toolkits below. Whether needing to survey and assess your income needs as an individual, or a family unit, or to calculate various loan interests.

You can also find a template for creating your Social Enterprise Business Plan. This will guide you methodically and clearly through the steps you need to plan your governance, your policies and your operational delivery – all focused on social enterprise creation and sustainability.

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View, print or download your cashflow template here (MS Excel file).

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View, print or download your Business Plan template here (pdf file).

internetIconMini View, print or download your Loan Illustrator here (MS Excel file).

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View, print or download your personal survival budget template here (MS Docx file).

The Key Fund main web pages also have a more comprehensive and detailed set of resources available on the Fund Start-up Advice web centre (Courtesy of Start-up Donut). This offers you more insight and detailed resources for creating a new social business and has links to a variety of services and information that new groups or companies will find useful.

So, wherever you are on your social business journey in 2016, from first idea to seeking social investment, you can contact The Key Fund Team here.

A happy and enterprising 2016!

Buy Social this weekend?

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.

socialsaturday2015Button‘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.”

internetIconMini You can see this informative article from The Guardian in full here.

Invest in your community – buy from a Social Enterprise, not just this weekend, but every week if you can.

Ethical business with a social dimension...
Ethical business with a social dimension…

Innovation in Business – how to do it?

There is a new course, just released on Future Learn, which teaches you the basics of business innovation in any environment. Future Learn offers free courses on-line, many of which can add certificated outcomes to your professional development learning.

The Social Business sector is all about innovation, in financing, in management and in operational delivery – all with strong social value and outcome in mind.

Innovation: The Key to Business Success can help you achieve these goals for yourself. Wherever you fit in your organisation.

‘Understand commercial innovation, how ideas emerge and become reality, with this free online course developed with Marks & Spencer’ – The University of Leeds.

The course starts in June 2015, plenty of time to subscribe for the course content and bring your innovation skills to the fore. See how to enrol here…


Ethical business with a social dimension...
Ethical business with a social dimension…

Venturefest
East Midlands
April 14th, 2015

Venturefest East Midlands will take place on Tuesday 14 April 2015 at the East Midlands Conference Centre, Nottingham. There will be many opportunities to showcase achievements, network and build new business skills before the event, through activities and resources…including’:

  • Advice and support for all things business and innovation
  • Access and information about Open Innovation contracts throughout the East Midlands
  • Workshops on pitching to investors for investment ready businesses and entrepreneurs
  • Direct networking opportunities with the dedicated Venturefest app

Importantly for SEEM, we will be delivering the Social Business Hub offer, giving you insights into the Social Business sector.

As well as giving you a chance to meet and network with businesses already active in this emerging sector, The Hub can be instrumental in helping you to formulate your new social business idea, or to pivot an existing business strand into delivery on social terms.

The Hub will contain a variety of Social Business practitioners to share ideas with and seek support from, if required, including…

Arch Communications
Choice Unlimited
Food Freedom
Nottingham Social Impact Fund
Playworks
SmithMartin Partnership LLP

Join Roger and the SEEM team at Venturefest East Midlands. Call in on The Social Business Hub, take part in the workshop events and start exploring your new Social Business venture.

internetIconMiniYou can download the Venturefest app here. See you on the 14th…

Ethical business with a social dimension...
Ethical business with a social dimension…

Good for Business?

businessforgoodButtonThe lounge of Antenna, in Nottingham, was buzzing last night (24th February) with talk about business for good and how change in traditional structures and processes can create models of delivery that are good for business.

The event was part of the ongoing  programme of engagement with post-grad students at Nottingham University for the Social Business Programme, which seeks to offer opportunities and ideas for the current post-graduate cohort of the University to start a business for good, a Building Enterprise activity.

You can find more about the work of the project on our events page, or see the Nottingham City Postgraduate Social Business Programme on-line here.

The evening was chaired and facilitated by Jeanne Booth, who was able to introduce a panel of speakers for the audience, who were both inspirational and able to deliver pertinent short messages about their experiential learning in the development and awareness of Social Business. Some of the ideas abroad on the night are tendered below…


 

Paul CaulfieldDirector of the MBA in Corporate Social Responsibility at Nottingham University Business School

Corporate social responsibility is dead, long live Social Business! This could have been the rallying cry for the audience from Paul’s presentation. The old ways are perhaps no longer fit for purpose, we were told. With CSR as a concept, arguably, seen as a reactive and backward looking process.

Much was made of nature and things natural as metaphors for new business development under the banner of Social Business. We have destroyed 50% of the rain-forest so far. Paul surprised the audience with the metaphoric concept of bio-mimicry as perhaps providing the new, forward looking business model.

However, the speaker argued, not all in the past is of no use. The Guilds were, from early modern history, craft makers and carers for community. Fostering skills and market development, from their geographical locus, yet preserving the best of tradition.

It is this, the fostering of ideas, like the emergent Social Business movement, that is the only truly scaleable resource we have. ‘A dialogue between two people with ideas results in a more dynamic third idea‘. Wonderful stuff!

Toni EsbergerCEO of Nottingham Circle

This section of the evening had the style of a structured interview and response between Toni and Jeanne.  Toni, in her development of the Nottingham Circle, a membership group for the over-50’s, had clearly done much to encourage the recording and shaping of data and soft outcome records for her organisation.

In any new or developing business, this collection of data is redundant in itself. It is how the people in the organisation deploy the knowledge locked up in the data, or in people’s stories over time.

Relationships, shared goals, resourcefulness and generosity. These were some of the keywords Jeanne was able to elicit from the speaker. They are the perfect framing paradigm for a good Social Business too. These and a great spreadsheet, which you can deploy for funders, partners and beneficiaries too.

Roger MoorsCEO of SEEM

How do you finance good business was Roger’s key question to the audience at Antenna? Illustrating the tensions between the Third Sector and traditional business, Roger opined that it was seen as the sector’s traditional role, over business, to deliver social outputs.

This has changed. Using another natural metaphor the audience were asked to declare if they ate vegetables? Then they were asked if they were vegetarians? There was a large disparity in the aggregate numbers of the replies.

Thus, Roger argued, ‘…Social Business is not about legal structure, it is about how you do it’. All businesses need capital, to finance cash-flow, purchase of assets or to develop their business idea. Social investment is, therefore, about investing for impact.

There are, therefore, three key elements to getting an offer of social investment. An economically sustainable idea. A collection of ‘investable’ people. Impact.

To see if you qualify, contact Roger at SEEM. He’s the capital chap!

Martin KnoxBrand Developer, Business Designer and Creative Interpreter for retail business

Martin works with people in organisations to ‘...identify, articulate and present the truth of their product or service’. Echoing the message that traditional business methodologies were undergoing change, Martin stresses the search for ‘truth’ in presentation, marketing and delivery as now being the key social business driver.

There is a new commercial imperative. It is the power of the story, not about a thing in itself. As founders of new social businesses the message about your motives, your values and the journey you have undertaken to get here are now powerful drivers of client or customer engagement.

This was a telling section of the evening. Stressing the emotional and empathetic engagement inherent in social business. ‘People no longer buy the ‘what’, they are interested in the ‘why’.

Nicky GreyFounder of Food Freedom

Nicky’s story is one of developing her Social Business through reaction to familial allergies and intolerances. Driven to engage with school catering staff, Nicky was able to grapple initially with the ‘different school lunch’ issue, helping to foster a more tolerant attitude to difference, certainly, but also restoring a sense of balance and good health to her own family members.

From this ‘community action’ approach, Food Freedom has gone on to foster and deliver a range of training courses and awareness raising expertise for a variety of clients – schools, companies and community settings.

A very telling and key part of the Food Freedom presentation was the characteristics needed to found, grow and stabilise a new Social Business. Nicky had three important messages for the Antenna audience…

  • Really want to make a difference – care about it above profit…
  • Draw exhilaration and energy from the feedback and measured impact you can obtain along the way…
  • Make sure you gather that evidence formally and then deploy it wisely.

 

The evening concluded, after a short break, with a full Q & A session with the expert panel. The Chair was able to guide the audience through questions and responses, from theory and practice, to help them conceptualise, form or grow their Social Business idea.

This was a well organised, useful and informative session. It is part of a wider programme of creating enterprise events. If you have an idea as post-grad, then this is the place to go for answers, advice and, perhaps, even funding…see more here.

Ethical business with a social dimension...
Ethical business with a social dimension…