Category Archives: Community Economics

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.

Revisiting our Social Business theory…

 

Yunus Social Business – humanising the enterprise…

We have attended a number of events and meetings recently, across the six counties of the East Midlands, where the nature of our business has been, occasionally,  in focus. We have returned and sought to reflect on our engagement with clients, partners and our own team.

We define our core  Partnership in Cambridge as a Social Business, and cleave to the seven principles delineated in the book Building Social Business – the prime mover for us is to try and do things ‘…with joy’. (We also underscore the Nolan Principles in our work too…Ed.)

Of course, there are more significant enterprise impacting elements to the theories of Professor Muhammad Yunus, whose book defines our work. For our Partners the energy we expend is not for creating vast personal wealth – we use, we believe, enterprise skills and good governance to foster enough revenue to maintain our infrastructure, our tool-kits, human and technical, and then seek to deploy any surpluses to fund the delivery of pro-bono support to individuals and community organisations and actors where we can.

SocEntEastMids and our clients, is a good example of this, as is our book business Books go Walkabout.

What has struck us is how our conversations have changed so little in the last twenty years or so. We talk in the office still of humanity, warmth, empathy, understanding and transparent process – all emotional responses to business propositions perhaps, but never forgetting that it is the business process and back office that fosters and provides for the projects that seek to develop our Social Business aims and achievements. No matter how modest they may be in the grand scheme  of things.

The short video above, from Yunus socialbusiness, is, in effect, a declaration for system change and the humanising of the enterprise, we believe. A moderation of raw capitalism that is perhaps seeing the emergence of ‘its time’. It is not isolated by geography or place, the same principles should apply in a remote rural area or the heart of a city, whatever the continent.

Whether we define it as emergent social enterprise, social business, a co-operative or a genuinely employee owned business – the Yunus principles should all be in play, within this context of understanding and change.

We were challenged recently, in our twitter feed, by a member of the ‘twitterati’ that our position was hopelessly idealistic. Perhaps this is true, but as is made clear in the video exposition above, it is better to aspire to selflessness than to selfishness we would argue.

I was elected recently to join the Board of a regional charity, and was able to accept the onerous duty with delight. As part of the process I attended a staff workshop on Loneliness and Isolation. The stats indicating the demand for this service were challenging.

None the less, part of the group tasks were to develop an understanding of ‘the five ways to well-being’. They are Connect | Be Active | Take Notice | Keep Learning | Give.

Not a bad five point mantra for socio-economic change actors in communities too – we thought. Hopelessly idealistic or not…


This article is a personal reflection by Tim Smith MA, FRSA – A Managing Partner at SmithMartin LLP, custodian of SocEntEastMids interests.

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:

 

 

Good Deals + Beyond Good Business

‘For the second year running, Pioneers Post and Hatch Enterprise, the organisations behind the Good Deals + Beyond Good Business conferences, bring you the leading event in social enterprise and impact investment in the UK’.

Good Delas + image and web link...
See more here…

Taking place on May 21st, 2019 at Mary Ward House in London, the organisers aim to delve ‘…into different practical support that can allow all organisations to progress towards a healthy and sustainable future, while also making sure that we don’t forget about our own well-being and the human behind the social entrepreneur‘.

Early bird tickets are just now available and you can see the range of ticket types available for this significant SocEnt event here.

You can see the key themes of this year’s conference, and review the speakers of note from last year’s event on the BGB web pages. See more: https://beyondgoodbusiness.co.uk/

Perhaps we’ll see you there?

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!

First Steps in Social Enterprise in Nottingham & Derby

 

 

 

 

To Nottingham, on Friday 15th February 2019 – to attend the launch of a new programme of support for budding social entrepreneurs from OLMEC.

Olmec’s mission is ‘...race equality through economic and social justice‘, and we are delighted, at SocEntEastMids  to be able to support the work.

First Steps In Social Enterprise is free and open to existing and aspiring social entrepreneurs from BME (Black and Ethnic Minority) backgrounds – across the Nottingham and Derby area.

  • Are you a sole trader, or have a skill and want to develop a business that benefits the community?
  • Have a social enterprise idea / social enterprise at an early stage?
  • Want to develop a social enterprise model from an existing community organisation?
  • Are an entrepreneur that wants to develop a social enterprise?
  • Are a working and/or living in Nottingham or Derby?

‘The programme is designed to support aspiring social entrepreneurs’ ideas through a structured 12-week programme and 9 months online support including access to a moderated FaceBook group with online training.’ Source: OLMEC web pages

  • Applications Open February 15th
  • Applications close March 15th
  • Interviews March 19th to 21st
  • 3-month programme runs March 23rd to June 15th
  • Online support runs to March 31st 2020

You can view, print or download the application form and details below…

You can discover more of the collaborative work of OLMEC here.


Application form as a pdf            Application form as a Word/ODT document


About the event:

We convened in the performance space at New Art Exchange on Gregory Boulevard, an ideal setting for an entrepreneurial engagement. Inspirational speakers, good food and coffee and an opportunity to discuss early ideas in an encouraging and non-critical atmosphere.

We enjoyed it immensely. Discover the venue here – http://www.nae.org.uk/

The speakers also gave us an opportunity to discover new resources, pertinent to the equality and inclusion agenda…

Lilollo.com

‘Languages are for everyone! Enjoy learning two or more languages with our products, games and guides.

Lil’ollo is for young learners from birth onwards, whether you are speaking several languages fluently at home or just getting started. Join our free club to receive free products, guides and more’. (A beautifully designed resource…Ed.) See more here...

Windrushgame.co.uk

‘Created by family history historian, founder of Every Generation Media and Windrush Generation campaigner Patrick Vernon OBE, this storytelling board game is designed to keep the stories and history of the Windrush Generation alive. It helps families, friends and communities share their heritage, family history, identity and culture through the sharing of stories.’   See more here…  ( A great resource to keep oral history and family knowledge alive and resonant…Ed.)

A great day, a great community and an important programme for the early social business man or woman. Apply today, we recommend it!

 

Social Insecurities and Resilience

View, print or download a pdf copy here...download link and cover image
View, print or download a pdf copy here…

Eurofound publications on the quality of life inside Europe, offer profound insights into the global ‘state of the nation’ on matters that affect the individual, society and economy.

Social Insecurities and  Resilience, the latest policy brief to be published, highlights how insecure even those perceived as comfortable and secure can be, across Europe.

Eurofound (2018), Social insecurities and resilience, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg. (.pdf)

Authors: Hans Dubois and Tadas Leončikas

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!

The size of UK Social Enterprise in 2018?

Hidden Revolution, social enterprise - cover image and web link

View, print or download this SocEnt UK report here…pdf

The answer?

  • 100,000 SocEnt businesses
  • 2 million employees
  • Generating £60 billion of UK GDP

Source: Hidden Revolution – Size and Scale and Social Enterprise in 2018

A report by Social Enterprise UK

Perhaps no more words are needed…well maybe not!

  • 12% of social enterprises are led by someone from the BAME community.
  • 50% of social enterprises have developed a new product or service in the last 12 months.

Taking our sector mainstream?

We are mainstream!

 

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.