Monthly Archives: November 2013

Supporting small business UK

Vince Cable recently announced a variety of additional support mechanisms for small business – new funding for loans and additional mentoring and support services.

Business is Great Britain banner image

There is a new website – Business is Great Britain – which aims to provide information and resources to UK businesses to plan, export, lead and nurture their development.

The web pages also contain useful links to funding sources, business grants etc., to help that growth.

The new British Business Bank has allocated its first £45 million pound tranche of funds, the deployment of which should begin in early 2014. The money is being placed with finance intermediaries to explicitly be invested in the support of SME’s.

In the ministerial announcement was an indication that the funds may be invested in ‘…businesses that offer non-traditional channels of lending that may not be regulated by the Financial Services Authority or the Office of Fair Trading’. Is this an oblique reference to the Social Business market?

You can read the full ministerial announcement here.

The Sector Mentoring Challenge Fund aims to encourage employers, trade bodies and others to work together and deliver tailored mentoring solutions that address real business needs in their sector.

This is a one off funding tranche, competitively aspiring to fund innovative mentoring and support for business sectors. The Fund is specifically looking for proposals that can become self funding examples of sector support.

You can find application details for the 11th December deadline here…

Any help for the SME sector is useful in the current economic climate, although the acid test will be how conservative in approach these new intermediary funds turn out to be. More support, or more of the same, only time will tell?

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


The money illusion – explanations

Illusion image
Thinking about money and society

Put simply money illusion is the propensity to respond to changes in money magnitudes as if you were were responding to changes in real magnitudes.

For example, if we increased your income by 100% from now, but also increased the cost of all the goods and services you used or purchased by 100%, and you were already buying the optimum goods or services for your needs, then you could go on acquiring these at previous rates of consumption. (Any goods or services that you previously couldn’t buy, you still could not afford).

However, the money illusion, in essence, is when your income rises and you ‘feel’ richer, consequently you purchase more luxury or non-standard goods or services because of that feeling and purchase less of the staples you previously bought.

Individuals fail to grasp that their real income has not risen. (Your real income is measured by dividing your money income by an appropriate and consistent index of prices…see below…).

You can see therefore in mainstream economic practice that the banks ability to quite literally print money, to increase it’s own money magnitude at will – remote from real lives and economic behaviour, or for an individual to regularly value and revalue their property portfolio on a rising market, can lead to financial disaster for the individual.

The economist Irving Fisher deliberated long and hard about the high value of stocks immediately before the 1929 Wall Street crash, ands produced many of the indices of value that we still use to measure, or second guess, market ‘fluctuations’ today. This thinking has not prevented economic juddering in recent decades either.

We would wish to argue that a rational social economy, based on business outputs that are focused on social outcome, not individual wealth or shareholder value as a predominant driver, are one way to counterbalance the money illusion.

Taking out the thirst for dis-proportionate personal wealth and dedicate outputs to a wider social good – replacing the feeling of ‘riches’ for the feeling of ‘community’ – is a perfect way to achieve a new economic equilibrium.

Boost the social business market, starve the illusion!

Explanations is an occasional Mining the SEEM piece to explain economic and financial thinking in a clear and understandable way. If you have a term to be explained, or even to tell us when we haven’t been clear, then contact the Editor at Mining the SEEM and let us know.

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 Investment Research Council

Big Society Capital image
New research, new ideas…

There is a new research body on the social finance block.  

Delivered from contributions by the Big Lottery Fund, Big Society Capital, Citi Microfinance, The City of London Corporation and the Cabinet Office – The Social Investment Research Council has emerged.

Read more about this new research body here…

The concept behind this new body is to be a focus for the smaller social enterprise, to help them review, explore and contribute to the social investment agenda.

The Research Council has two immediate projects; looking for new sources of capital for the UK social investment market and looking at the technicalities of improving the ‘pricing structure’ of the social investment market for existing participants.

New Sources of Capital

This research will run from November 2013 to March 2014. The deadline for submitting a tender for this project is Thursday 14th November. For the purposes of this research, the City of London Corporation will be the coordinator on behalf of the Council.

The terms of reference for this research can be accessed via the London Tenders Portal:

Improving infrastructure to price social investment

This research will run from November 2013 to May 2014. The deadline for submitting a tender for this project is Thursday 14th November.

For a copy of the terms of reference for this project and to express an interest, please contact

In the next six months the Research Council will be calling for ideas from researchers and other key organisations in the sector to fuel a fuller research programme.

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