Social Enterprise UK, with the support of generous sponsorship by NatWest Bank, have just published their ‘Start Your Social Enterprise’ booklet.
This is a great primer on social enterprise, clearly laid out and packed with information for those of you about to start your SocEnt journey.
You can view, print or download a copy of this publication here (pdf).
The chapters include sections on Mission, Market and Money, as well as Marketing and Branding and the all important Business Plan.
There is also a very clear grid format page which illustrates the choices of good governance you can pursue, in order to control and support your Social Enterprise ambitions as a community.
We particularly liked the SEUK section on Looking After Yourself.
It is easy, in the whirl of excitement and drive to make things happen to forget about individual well-being in pursuit of the goal. We have repeated the sensible advice below…
”Pay yourself properly – as soon as is practically possible, pay
yourself properly; some social entrepreneurs pay other people
first in the organisation, but everyone needs to live…
Find a mentor – a mentor is someone independent outside your organisation
to talk to who can provide advice and support to you; organisations like
UnLtd and the School for Social Entrepreneurs will often link you to mentors
as part of their support, but you may be able to identify your own…
Be part of networks – there are lots of local, regional and national groups and
networks for social enterprises, from national bodies like Social Enterprise UK
to the Social Enterprise Places across the country to local and regional networks
like SELNET in Lancashire or SEEE in the East of England; they will often run
events, send newsletters with information, and provide connections to others. (…and SocEntEastMids too…Ed).
Don’t neglect family and friends – take time out, spend time with
the people you like and love, and you will be better refreshed, more
focused and more productive when you return to the enterprise…
Keep learning – this is a fast-moving world, and there are new developments,
opportunities and information to find out about; events and newsletters can
help with this, as can podcasts or books on business and social enterprise…”
Source: Social Enterprise UK, Start your social enterprise, p.13 Accessed 02.08.2017
A useful addition to your armoury when building your community business to effect change.
We recommend it as a great starting point for changing the world, or even a bit of it in the immediate vicinity at first!
Sometimes, in a committee room or at your office desk, starting a new community enterprise – or entertaining the very thought – can be a bit like the image above.
Here at SocEntEastMIds we are trying to build a new starting point. A resource for information about social enterprise, news and stories from successes, and those that didn’t go well. To promote understanding and to get easy access to a community project road map.
First principles are important and you can find a good read about building social businesses on our Good Reads page here. We will be expanding our library of good reads in the future. (It’s been our road-map for a long time now too…Ed.)
Having a chat about your idea is also important too. Not all project ideas grow, but those that do invariably begin by talking to experienced practitioners, even informally. You get an idea about a business landscape before you enter it. SocEntEastMIds is happy to have a conversation – contact us here.
The British Council have published a great resource, Social Enterprise in the UK, a sort of ‘SocEnt primer’ and an illustrated overview of the social business sector. One of the best we know.
It covers everything you might need to know about social enterprise and community business – from governance to diversity, from incubation to consortia.
Back again in 2017, Ignite are again looking forward to advance investment readiness and idea development for the brightest in the social enterprise energy sector.
Advancing social impact in the energy sector – with the support of Centrica.
If you are over 16 years of age, resident in the UK and looking to develop your energy business potential…then you should apply to the Ignite Social Enterprise challenge. With investment available from betwwen £50k and £2m, then put your energy, enthusiasm and nascent business in the best place to ‘give it wings’.
You need to contact ignite (at ) centrica.com to discuss your idea and to obtain an application form. The deadline for the simple first round is 31st January, 2017.
Imaginaitive with funding, secure in it’s mission for social enterprise – The Key Fund…
Key Fund, a long-standing investor in community and social enterprises, is delivering the Northern Impact Fund, aimed at new and early stage enterprises who are seeking finance to support growth.
Matt Smith, CEO of the Key Fund, said: “With this fund we’re offering finance of up to £150k, but typical investments will be around £50k, with up to 20% of the amount available as grant. The Key Fund was one of the early pioneers in this space, and our original model was based on a grant and loan mix, so we’re really excited to be going back to that original model. It’s long been our belief that grants can play a very important role in helping new and smaller social enterprise become more robust.”
Source: The Key Fund web site – thekeyfund.co.uk Accessed 25.09.2016
A new blended grant and loan fund, the Key Fund package looks to secure sector deals in the £5,000 to £150,000 range. Applications are accepted from across the North and Midlands, with the Fund looking to realise 46 deals a year.
At a flat rate of 6.5% interest, the average loan term secured is expected to be three years.
Interested in business development on these terms, as a social/community enterprise. See the links below…
‘The Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs has been over 15 years in the making and exists to make sure that all those involved in enterprise are able to access the support they need, when they need it’.
Whether your interest lies in tracking SFEDI Centres of Excellence or in developing apprenticeships and wider learning in business, then Think Enterprise has something of interest for you.
Be sure to check out pages 16 & 17, with their 2016 Enterprise Awards almost upon us, if only to read of the developmental success of others can in itself an inspiring and confidence building thing as you grow your own business, whatever sector you are in.
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.
The Key Fundhave 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.
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.
‘The Social Business Dragons’ Den is part of the Building Enterprise project managed by Community Partnerships at the University of Nottingham and led by Roger Moors, CEO of SEEM and Jeanne Booth, Chair of the East Midlands Fellowship of the RSA’.
Want to pitch to the Dragons?
Have you got an idea for a social business to pitch to the Dragons? Here’s the rules:
You must be living in the city of Nottingham to pitch.
Pitch Perfect Event – 11th May 2015, 6.00pm to 9.00pm
Nottingham Writer’s Studio 25 Hockley NG1 1FP Nottingham
This workshop will take you through the steps for preparing your pitch and equip you to present your ideas to different audiences. It will be invaluable for anyone who wants to practice their pitch and improve their chances of winning a prize at the Social Business ‘Dragon’s Den’ on 14th May.
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…
The 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.
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…
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!
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.
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 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’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.
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