Category Archives: Events

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
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…


Calling all Nottingham City Post-grads, are you ‘Social Business’ minded?



Sharing knowledge, developing a good idea and planning ahead?

If you are on a post-graduate course in Nottingham, in any discipline, and  interested in starting your own business, then the Social Business Programme represents a great opportunity to develop your idea, share opportunities and to learn about the social business start-up sector.

The Building Enterprise Project is managed by Community Partnerships at the University of Nottingham. Led by Roger Moors, CEO of SEEM and Jeanne Booth FRSA, founder of The Good Work Guide.

From February to April 2015 the programme of events and conferences represent a great opportunity to develop your ideas in concert with a team Social Business specialists.

You can also meet us at a special postgraduate meeting of First Tuesday, Nottingham’s network for social businesses, on February 3rd, 2015. Social Business and social impact measures are part of the debate.

Places are free, but numbers are limited.

Key Programme Events:

3rd February, 2015First Tuesday, a Post-grad special event. Inspiration for the entrepreneur and a free drink for the first fifty people through the door! You can book here…

24th February, 2015  – What is good for business? Four different speakers offering you insights into key aspects of Social Business development. A Question and Answer Session will follow this, the first of four sessions in the programme.

There is more to come in March and April.

To see the full project programme visit  internetIconMini

Project Sponsors:

Community Partnerships  :   The University of Nottingham  :   SEEM  :  RSA East Midlands  :   European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) :

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

Women, navigating the digital divide…

Zeros and Ones

A free panel debate:   Friday 14th November, 2014 – 3.00 to 4.30pm, followed by an informal networking event at the Mezz Bar and Lounge at Broadway.

The event promises some great insights and conversations exploring if, and how girls and women are moving forward in the digital creative industries, with thoughts and opinions on overcoming potential barriers as a women starting out in the digital industries.

The event will be energised by a distinguished panel. Keynote speaker, Helen Darlington founded creative agency INK Digital . A Finalist for 2014 Digital Entrepreneur of the year; and winner of 2013 Female digital entrepreneur; Helen will be joined on the panel by Joy Francis Executive Director of Words of Colour Productions, and co-founder of Digital Women UK, Jo Welsh, Diversity and Inclusion manager at Creative Skillset, Annie Hayley Founder and Director of Nottingham based App development company Multipie, and Artist and Curator Candice Jacobs.

You can see the booking information for this free event on the Broadway calendar pages here.

You can also visit the pages of the Projector Project too. Projector is Broadway’s Business support Programme for the creative and digital content industries, ‘…offering 1-2-1 business advice, business sessions and workshops and residency opportunities; the programme is funded by ERDF therefore participants do not have to pay for any of the business support provided’.

Friday 14th, 2014 – a diary date for all female creatives in Nottingham?

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

Social Finance – a breakfast revelatory…

Investment socially focused...
Investment socially focused…

To the Galleries of Justice in Nottingham this morning, 17th July 2014, for a massive double espresso shot of Social Finance. Two hours of concise advice, proven experience and excitement for a sector under change.

Hosted by our own Roger Moors of SEEM, the assembled audience convened for coffee and muffins at 7.45am, more about the venue at the bottom of this article, all looking forward to a series of key speakers on expanding, developing and capitalising on our growing sector, courtesy of Big Society Capital.

Councillor Nick McDonald – Nottingham City Council:

Cllr. McDonald was delighted to announce to the gathered social finance bankers and intermediaries that the City now had a new Nottingham Social Impact Fund. This new source of funding for the enterprising small business comprises a pot of £1 million pounds, which, argued Cllr. McDonald, coupled to a revised City Procurement Policy, would heavily lean the city towards a paradigm shift in its industrial base, as well as building on existing entrepreneurial energies in the city. A new fund is always welcome for the business sector, particularly at very good rates.

internetIconMini  You can discover more about the life and career of Cllr. McDonald here.

Geetha Rabindrakumar – Social Sector Lead, Big Society Capital:

Big Society Capital image
New research, new ideas…

Geetha began by offering the audience a classic definition of social investment, and underscored research that indicates, whilst societal problems will magnify and public sector funding will continue to diminish, it is the social sector, with its thirst for new forms of finance that will drive the sector forward in the next few years.

Underscoring the role of Big Society Capital as a finance wholesaler, Geetha stressed the importance of intermediaries in process, and that BSC will be looking to exhaust its coffers on innovative projects, which give investors their money back, provide a return on that investment and achieve social impact and delivery.

A clear presentation of roles and responsibilities in the sector, now and in the future.

internetIconMini  Discover Big Society Capital on-line here.

Sam Tarff – CEO of the Key Fund:

sinButton2Sam delivered a pacy and detailed analysis of the work of The Key Fund for his audience. Outlining the Fund’s history, but also encouraging intermediaries with the news of the quality of relationships the Fund enjoys, it’s flexibility and pace in moving from application to decision. A refreshing approach in a finance oriented sector, we believe.

The Fund also illustrated how innovative and enterprising communities and individuals can be. Sam offered the audience examples of Fund development clients as diverse as a Therapeutic Comedy Training Academy, a Virtual Human Body for drug testing, community wind farms and and solar photo-voltaic energy installations on community buildings.

The Key Fund deserves it’s key player status as a driver of fiscal energy for projects across the North of England. internetIconMini  Discover The Key Fund on–line here.

Peter Ware – Partner at Browne Jacobson LLP:

Peter gave the assembled audience a very informative over-view of Public Sector Mutual’s development. Organisations that move into the social business sector, ofen with existing customer bases and public sector ethics and philosophy.

Reminding us that the sector could see demand for social finance rise to £500 million by 2015, Peter, nonetheless, did not shy away from some of the issues to be wrangled with in creating Mutuals in a local authority setting.

internetIconMini  If you have clients looking to enter this business environment, discover Peter’s practice, Browne Jacobson on-line here…

Matt Smith – Fund Manager, The Big Lottery:

Matt explained the heavyweight nature of The Big Lottery, and how it was looking to develop agile, relevant and timely funding solutions in the future, particularly to benefit the social finance sector.

Working across three strategic layers the Fund is looking at how demand, intermediaries and the supply side of funding can all be tempered and flexed to respond to the needs of risk capital with a social mission at its centre.

internetIconMini  Find the Big Lottery on-line here…

Richard Nicol – CEO of Midlands Together

Richard gave us a ‘rally cry’ speech, moving across his own initiation into social business, after being a banker for twenty years and finding himself re-tailoring a hotel group in an area of social need.

Raising £3 million pounds, only a year ago, using the social business’s innovative model of housing development, coupled to partnerships in the social enterprise sector to provide training and skills support for ex-offenders.

So successful has Richard’s ministration been that profits are reported, funding need has been reined back, temporarily, and the business is set fair to exceed it’s targets of 15 property renovations undertaken per annum and with 150 clients supported through their training process into employment by the end of this five year bond period.

Midlands Together, using a revision of the ‘Together’ model developed in Bristol, describes its work as property development with a heart. Real asset development, care for people and delivery of profits. We were inspired.

internetIconMini  Find out more about this exciting, innovative development process here…

The Venue?

We had our breakfast convocation at the Galleries of Justice in the Lace Market quarter of Nottingham. In the heart of the city’s creative area, this museum, educational service and charity offers a fascinating series of spaces for events.

We met in the courtroom. You can see from the narrative above, all our star witnesses for the defense of Social Finance were sparkling. The verdict? Guilty of enthusiasm and expectation for the future.

If you would like to explore the venue on-line and make contact with the corporate hospitality team, see more here…

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

Evolve 2014

Evolve 2014, an annual event for the voluntary sector is almost upon us again.

Evovcle 2014, by NCVO - summit for the sector...

The gathering, organised by the NCVO, features a sector Summit, Marketplace and and a variety of Fringe events to occupy and interest everyone across the third sector.

No matter what your role is with, or within, the voluntary sector, there is something at Evolve 2014 that is relevant to you and your organisation. It will help you look to the future, whatever the size, shape and mission of your organisation.
Date: Monday 16 June
Time: 09.30 – 17.30
Location:  internetIconMini  The Brewery and Montcalm Hotel, London

The keynote morning events are delivered by Hilary Benn, Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, as well as a session by Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of The Big Lottery Fund.  internetIconMini See the Summit agenda in detail here.

One of the key Fringe events will be delivered by Neil Berry, Head of Trading, Locality. The session reflects that…

incredibly, the economy of scale argument is still dominant in the Treasury, in government departments, in local councils and health bodies, and across the political spectrum. This is the myth that cutting costs will be achieved by combining public sector procurement into larger and larger contracts, by driving down unit costs through efficiencies of scale.

Local by default image
Local by default?

Locality will be presenting their ideas as to how this dis-economy of scale can be subverted by a new methodology of delivery for the Public Sector. The recommendations are based upon original research by Professor John Seddon and the team at Vanguard Consulting.

Icon for Adobe PDF  Download a copy of this research here (pdf)

internetIconMini  You can see the full Fringe programme here.


Book your place at Evolve 2014 here. See you in London?

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


Thinkubator Challenge soon


Thinkubator 2013 Nottingham Trent Business School image
Free thinking for one day!

Nottingham Trent University Business School will be coming to a complete halt shortly. No, not a disastrous service failure, but the arrival of Thinkubator Challenge 2013.

This is a whole day in which the academic staff and students are divided into ‘hubs’, and will work together to devise solutions and suggest strategic choices for the challenges that they have been submitted.

“With access to the full resources of Nottingham Business School, each hub will focus on one individual challenge at a time. Organisations submitting challenges will receive a short response, electronically, on the day, which will outline the hub’s thinking, recommendations and advice on practical steps to take”.

It will take place at the Business School on November 27th 2013. You can read more about the Thinkubator Challenge 2013 here,

You can register to submit your business challenge here.

(Ed: What a fantastic idea! How about a one day event in partnership with the Social Finance sector to explore options and support the social business sector in 2014?).

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

Social Business – the larger market

What are we not discussing?
What are we not discussing?

Social Business – the larger market for social finance and social impact

Next month I’ll be making my annual homage south to the ‘Good Deals’ conference in London to immerse myself in all things ‘Social Finance’ ( ) No doubt there will be a host of new investment vehicles to discover, angel investors to meet and a plethora of organisations looking for exciting investible propositions.

And when I arrive in the throbbing metropolis that is the epicentre for this rapidly developing industry, I’ll be asking one question; ‘When are you going to deal with the elephant in the room and redefine the market for social finance?

The brave new world of Social Finance shouldn’t be confined to expanding social enterprises or transforming charities; the market it simply isn’t big enough. It has to be about a much broader Social Business marketplace defined by an organisations’ ability to make a difference in society and not their legal persuasion.

Organisations and individuals looking to ‘Invest for Impact’ in the Social Business marketplace need to understand that there’s much to be done in terms of helping to shape, develop and widen access to social finance. We need better routes to market through Universities, LEPS and players such as the Chambers and the Federation of Small Businesses. We need well developed brokerage facilities, better physical access arrangements and much wider appreciation that at time when banks are loathe to part with their money, social finance can be conduit to growth, jobs and social impact.
Some would argue that it’s’ easier to socialise the private sector than it is to commercialise the third sector.

Whether you believe that or not, the two markets are not mutually exclusive and social finance needs to expand its horizons and seize the moment. Seldom can there have been a better time to provide finance to businesses that are willing to embed social and/or environmental impact in their operations. We simply need to provide a much greater awareness of the opportunity and the means to help investees articulate the difference they can make in people’s lives.

Celebrating the Good Deals Conference

Good Deals Logo pictureTo celebrate the Good Deals Conference, SEEM are offering a FREE tailored support opportunity for any organisation or individual that is intent on delivering social and/or environmental impact and want to access Social Finance to gear up their operations. To understand more about social finance and how to access it call telephoneIconMini0115 900 3299 before 31st October.

Roger H. Moors

Roger Moors is CEO of SEEM (Supporting Social Business) based in Nottingham. With a background in banking, Roger and SEEM broker social finance across the East Midlands and currently hold contracts with a number of intermediaries and funders including the Key Fund and Social Incubator North.

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