Tag Archives: community economics

Social Saturday – coming in October

Social Saturday Badge - image
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!

Cabinet Office – Social Investment Awards

 Investing in UK social business…

The Cabinet Office Social Investment Awards recognise the impact social investment is having on communities across the UK.

Now entering its second year, the awards highlight the innovation and dedication of world leading social investors and enterprises, celebrating both the achievements of teams and individuals alike.

The awards are supported by NatWest. In 1999 the bank set up its own charity, Social & Community Capital, to help fund social enterprises and community lenders that cannot access mainstream finance and to help them on their path to the financial mainstream.

The awards have six categories that applicants can enter, free of charge, by nominating their own businesses or social enterprises.

Institutional Social Investment Award
Institutional investment deal or product that has created demonstrable social impact at scale.
New Social Investors Award
Investment deal or product that has attracted new savers and investors into the social investment market.
Social Entrepreneurs Investment Award
Investment deal into an early stage social organisation to create demonstrable social impact.
International Social Investment Award
International investor who has invested through the UK market to create social impact anywhere in the world.
Market Building Award
Organisation that has demonstrated innovative and diverse ways to grow the social investment market in the UK.
Public Service Transformation Award
Social investment deal that has delivered improved public services.

Categories 1-3 and 5-6 are open to nominations from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Category 4 is open to individuals or organisations based anywhere in the world.

The awards close to applications on 18 March 2016. Short-listed nominees will be notified on 1 April 2016 and the awards ceremony will be held in London on 3 May 2016.

For more information see the Cabinet Office Social Investment Awards website.

NatWest SE100 awards showcase the best
of the UK’s social enterprise sector

See more here…

£32k prize fund shared by top performing social businesses…

The NatWest SE100 Index has announced the winners of its 2015 awards. Five winners were chosen from 1120 social ventures listed on the NatWest SE100 Index in the UK. This year’s awards build a clear picture of a thriving social enterprise sector that is supporting economic growth in the UK and delivering positive social impact.

The 2015 winners demonstrate best business practice within the social sector, working to address some of the UK’s most acute social issues. This year’s winners are helping to get people from disadvantaged backgrounds back into work, sustaining the environment and revolutionising healthcare services for disabled children.

These inspiring organisations now share over £32,000 in prize money awarded today at Critical Mass, the event for social enterprise, in recognition of their work.

Growth champion £10k prize: The EBP – East Midlands

The EBP is a non-profit dedicated to developing the skills of young people through development and employment programmes. The EBP works to ensure its services provide young people with the opportunity to develop the skills that employers are looking for, striving to engage young people in work and society.

Impact champions share £10k prize:

FRC Group – North West

FRC Group runs three social businesses including furniture recycling and waste management projects. These produce financial profits and create a social dividend by giving people in poverty and unemployment the opportunity to change their lives.

Kelvin Valley Honey – Scotland

Kelvin Valley Honey works to sustain Scotland’s honey bee populations whilst contributing to the regeneration of disadvantaged communities through financing and supporting the development of beekeeping, creating employment for people housebound through disability and long term illnesses.

Trailblazing newcomer £5k prize: Andiamo – London

Andiamo works to meet the gap in demand and capacity that currently exists and is growing in the field of orthotics, printing 3D fully customised orthotics children with disabilities and long-term conditions.

Resilience award £5K prize: Five Lamps – North East

Five Lamps delivers an integrated range of inclusion services to transform the lives of individuals and their families from disadvantaged communities, by helping them to find work, start their own business, improve their finances and improve their aspirations.

Storyteller award £2.5k prize: Aduna – London

Aduna is an African-inspired health & beauty brand and social business working to create demand for under-utilised natural products from small-scale producers in Africa to create sustainable income – starting with the nutrient-dense superfoods Baobab and Moringa.

Marcelino Castrillo, Managing Director Business Banking, NatWest, who presented the Growth Champion Award, said: “I want to congratulate all this year’s winners, not just on their success in the awards, but on the profound social impact that they are having on our society. NatWest is proud to have supported the SE100 since the beginning and we are committed to unlocking and nurturing entrepreneurial talent through access to finance, markets and expertise.”

Rob Wilson, Minister for Civil Society who presented the Trailblazing Newcomer award said of the NatWest SE100: “Social enterprises occupy a crucial place in our society. These organisations help tackle social challenges while contributing to economic growth. The SE100 Index is an important benchmark for the sector and I would encourage all social enterprises to sign up so we can build a truly compassionate society.”

(If ever there was a great example of how diverse, dynamic and effective the social (enterprise) sector is in the UK, then look no further than these awards…Ed.)

internetIconMini  You can see the SE100 web site in full here…

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

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…

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…

Cornershop revisionism – philosophy refreshed…

The Pop-up Shop has been getting a lot of press recently.

Did it ever go away? Is a revision to enterprise philosophy under way? Asset management, both in the public and private sector is in flux. With revisionist thinking on collaboration and about public space utility and development?

We think there is this paradigm shift, which can energise the social finance market. It will temper developments in the public space. This affects political mission, private capital movements and community outcome.

We offer as evidence the three reports/ideas formulated by a diversity of organisations below. As crisp in their thinking as they are diverse. They are telling onlookers to change, at an opportune moment for our sector.

The Pop-Up Shop:

See more modern retailing here...
Hogarth imagines the pop-up shop?

Reading mainstream articles about this newly energised movement, we enjoyed revisiting the web site of www.appearhere.co.uk . We see it as a metaphor for a new retailing in the UK.

We are a world away from the ’empty space’ temporary retail proposition of old.

Gone are bare spaces, filled with less than high quality merchandise on a seasonal pressure sale basis. In comes a range of artisan producers, innovatory publishers and craft manufacturers. All intent on capitalising on short term, premium retail spaces. It should stir the imagination?

The Appear Here concept achieves a number of aims for the burgeoning retailer. Firstly, you can use the site to scope spaces across the UK, and will be able to view more in the future. You can also see, upfront, the cost of occupying the space over your chosen period.

If you are a community enterprise just at the planning stage this is important. Not being retail property specialists, but with a passion for your community manufactury, then knowing what the costs are likely to be, with support of the Appear Here team, could be a deal clincher for your project.

We haven’t fully explored the booking conditions from the site yet, and cannot see other start-up costs like majority deposits that may be needed, but overall the presentation makes a telling offer for the 21st Century.   internetIconMini  Check out Appear Here today.

We also liked and applaud The Plunkett Fondation’s attempts to vivify the community shop. They have recently published a new report Community Shops 2014 – A Better Form of Business.

Better shops, better communities...
Better shops, better communities…

The Foundation’s main focus is on rural development. As with the initiative above, retailing and the opportunities it offers, are good in inner-city areas too.

These include the principles of stock management, employment, volunteering, managing cash-flow and more.

The mixture of skills and commitment adds human capital, not only to the shop, but also the community if done right.

Icon for Adobe PDF  Download a copy of the Plunkett Foundation Report for 2014 here…

What can be gleaned for the Plunkett report is how a local shop can be a driver for community cohesion, a broad, beneficial identity and, because it is community owned, a wider sense of community ownership of place is also generated. Who cannot be proud of the area the shop they own exists within?

 Socially Productive Places:

Yesterday The Royal Society for the Arts (RSA), in collaboration with British Land, published a new report about an emergent model to add value to public spaces by utilising a new admixture of co-operation and skills shared amongst local authority planners, developers, community groups and politicians.

New ideas in regeneration...
New ideas in regeneration…

We were excited by the report, which contains recommendations for how private developers and public sector players can innovate and collaborate in new ways to get the maximum value from public spaces, whilst at the same time adding value to built assets.

At the heart of the report is a lack of fear about profitability. But with a sense of urgency and innovation about how the public domain renovates and rebuilds from now on.

The report tells us what should not done. As well as illustrating the new skills needed by key players in the development sector. It is a cogent and telling argument.

Icon for Adobe PDF   Download a full copy of the research paper here…

It’s a timely report and you can read a short review, and find links to the conference that inspired the research, on conversationsEAST, the East of England Fellowship journal supporting the work of the RSA.

Mass Collaboration:

The Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR), is a centre-left think tank. It recently published a paper called Mass Collaboration.

Within the context of this brief article, the IPPR piece binds together some of the ideas expressed above. Taking a meta-narrative view of policy and practice.

To see how to achieve change in the public arena. Moving to mass engagement within the socio-political structures that frame our society.

Working together in a new way...
Working together in a new way…

The paper, authored by Matthew Pike, a serial social entrepreneur. He has connections to Unltd, Big Society Capital and the Social Investment Business.

Matthew is the founder of www.resultsmark.org, a free reporting system for public services. Always worth checking out!

Icon for Adobe PDF   Download a copy of the report here…

The Pike thesis for change, that will will channel mass collaboration, is based upon five key principles. We give them below.

  1. “Invest in shared institutions that build social capital and engender supportive working relationships across sectors and hierarchies, such as teams of supporters around individuals, community anchor organisations, children’s centres, extended schools and more. Above all, invest in new ‘backbone organisations’ that can mobilise and organise whole-system change across localities.
  2. Understand what help people need in order to help themselves and discover the existing strengths within people and communities, through an immersive programme of listening and learning.
  3. Harness the new power of ‘big social data’ to turn public funding into a real-time process of action learning, understanding as much as possible about activities, outcomes and costs in an area to help design new systems that give people the help they need in a much smarter way.
  4. Provide funding, investment and support to test, grow and scale up what works better in a local context and cut what isn’t needed or is less effective.
  5. Work progressively to use new insight and evidence to help redesign the wider systems, rules and regulations that hamper local achievement”.

The five could apply to the social finance sector, and the players operating in it. Innovation, change, consultation, system and process review, engagement with communities of interest. All are all defining characteristics of the Social Finance sector.

The thematic glue to them, for us in the sector, is money. It’s accrual, its management and its dispensation. The Pikeian motif can layer upon the RSA paper, as well as across the innovatory approach of The Plunkett Foundation. In essence, we should talk to each other and ‘do things different’.

A heady time to be in the vanguard of a new movement?

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…