Tag Archives: SocEntEastMids

Social Innovation Strategy in UK Social Enterprises

Our partnership was pleased to make a contribution to a research project recently, which sought to define what and how Social Innovation practices improve the social innovation culture of UK Social Enterprises.

The research project, was realised through the joint intellectual energy of Dr. Maria Granados, a senior lecturer in Innovation in the School of Management & Marketing at the University of Westminster and Iraci João-Roland, an Assistant Professor at the Federal University of Sao Paulo in Brazil.

Discover more here…

You can discover the interim findings, Social Innovation Strategy in UK Social Enterprises, ahead of the full publication of an academic report, here.

The core assumptive definition of Social Innovation for the project was that of ”...a novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable, or just than existing solutions and for which the value created accrues primarily to society as a whole rather than private individuals”. (Source: Phills et al., 2008, p. 36)

Some of the key findings of interest to us clearly reflected our experience of SocEnt development and community business/community development processes in the past.

 

  • Community is the source of the innovative process…

 

  • Design thinking stimulates the search for solutions through experimentation and quick action, is iterative, is based on collaborative work and facilitate the involvement of users (beneficiaries), who are the centre of the innovative process.

 

  • The agile method facilitates the communication and integration between several actors involved in the innovation process by dividing the project into stages.

 

  • Using the knowledge, competency, partners and relationships that already exist in the SE is a viable option to encourage innovative activities.

(This latter implication is in fact the basis of our project delivery at SocEntEastMids – we share the knowledge and expertise for free at the point of engagement…Ed.)

  • Alignment between employees’ personal interest / belief and social enterprise mission and dual role of client and employee are a powerful booster for intra-preneurship.

(For us, again, culture and mission are irrevocably intertwined…Ed).

Finally, we were both delighted and surprised to see the modest size of the innovatory organisations included and the durability of their projects. Fourteen years of age was the average.

We understand the research team are still open to engagement from the UK SocEnt sector regarding the process of social innovation. (See contact details in the report above.)

Long, may the innovation last!

How to speak? We all know that…!

Update 15th November 2020

We really liked this analysis of Guy Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 rule for business pitches. The original article, published by Amardeep Parmar in the Entrepreneurs Handbook, nicely captures a 10 point plan for pitching your business idea.

Originally framed for corporate tech entrepreneurs, don’t be put off. The concepts can also hold good for social enterprises thinking of pivoting all or part of their business to reflect new circumstances.  New community businesses responding to the request ‘…come and tell us about your project/business idea‘ will find the simple brevity useful, we would argue. Particularly if you are having a ‘where do we start’ moment!

Discover your convincing ten point plan here.


Original skills development content:

This is a film about the art of the presentation. It can help you to acquire the skill in assembling your knowledge, the making of a telling argument to convince your audience about your community project, your funding renewal or your pending impact investment, amongst many possible goals.

Delivered last year (2019) by the late Professor Patrick Winston at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT), it is ostensibly for would be academic scientists. But there is much to discover about your own existing skill set, your preconceived ideas about your audience and it also delivers challenging ways to maximise your effectiveness.

We watched it in the office, as part of an exercise to think about refreshing the ways we use to pitch, for a new project we have coming up.

We winced as we realised we had delivered ‘death by PowerPoint’ sessions in the past, and some of us had allowed our purple prose to even cross the whiteboard, cross the meeting room and exit out into the car park.

Professor Winston was sharing a life time of thought. We think everyone will find something in it…

Source: Originally published as part of the MIT OpenCourseWare programme.


How to write well and effectively?

This filmed lecture, from the University of Chicago by Larry McEnerney, is about writing for the real world. It is delivered in accessible language and the key ideas have real relevance for writing in the Social Enterprise/Social Impact sector.

 

For McEnerney ‘writing in the real world’ can involve the use of jargon, being able to identify your readers, clarity of purpose and the use of the written word ‘to change the world’. He also has some interesting takes on the process of being paid to write.

Practical examples of the techniques and the understanding of your text start at around the 20 minute mark.

Speak well, write well, pitch well – improve the reach of your project, your idea or your community ambitions.

Source: First publ. 2015, as part of the UChicago Social Sciences Leadership Lab programme


The CIC – our most popular call for support!

By far the most numerous query we get, both for sources of information, or for direct advice and guidance, is around the governance, formation and change relating to Community Interest Companies.

Below are links to the latest forms, examples and formal guidance notes on Gov.uk – if we can help with your changes, formally or informally, do  just ask – our services are free.   (Sourced: August 2020)

Board meeting image: You X Ventures, Creative Commons, Unsplash

Forming a CIC

Key link https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/form-cic36-application-to-form-a-community-interest-company

Formal Note ‘When applying to form a community interest company (CIC), this form should be submitted to the CIC Regulator alongside the appropriate Companies House forms, memorandum of association, articles of association and payment’.


Transfer of Assets

Key link https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cic53-application-to-transfer-assets

Formal NoteWhen applying to transfer assets of a community interest company (CIC), consent should be submitted to the CIC Regulator signed by a director of the company, detailing assets, value and actual consideration received’.


The CIC Report

Key link https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/form-cic34-community-interest-company-report

Formal NoteThere are 2 types of community interest company (CIC) report: detailed and simplified. The majority of CICs complete the simplified report.

The detailed report is reserved for CICs that have more complex financial arrangements. If you complete this type of report, you might need to get professional advice in relation to the financial information sections.

CIC reports are placed on the public register and made available for the public, which provides an opportunity to showcase your CIC’s activities and the benefits provided for the community over the last year. Your report does not have to be especially detailed, but you should identify highlights’.


Converting a Company to a CIC

Key link https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/form-cic37-application-to-convert-a-company-to-a-cic

Formal NoteWhen applying to convert a company to a community interest company (CIC), this form should be submitted to the CIC Regulator alongside the appropriate Companies House forms, memorandum of association, articles of association and payment’.


Change of Objects

Key link https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/form-cic14-altering-the-objects-of-a-community-interest-company

Formal Note  – The community interest statement
…a statement of the steps that have been taken to bring the proposed alteration to the notice of people affected by the company’s activities (signed by each of the company’s directors).

When applying to alter the objects of a community interest company (CIC), this form should be submitted to the CIC Regulator alongside:

Companies House form CC04 – to notify the change of the company’s objects
a signed copy of the special resolution to alter the objects of the company
a copy of the articles of association, as altered’.

See also https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/notify-the-change-of-companys-objects-cc04


Other Useful Links:

Office of the Regulator of Community Interest Companies

The Community Interest Company Blog from Gov.uk

Dissolving a Community Interest Company from Voluntary Action: South Lanarkshire


Social Enterprise – the European context

A new edition of Social Enterprises and their Eco-systems in Europe is now available on the Europa web pages.

This cross-national look at social enterprise is a profoundly useful narrative for individuals, or community actors, who are interested in exploring, not only the deployment of governance forms, but also to understand the philosophical approach to social enterprise development, across time and geography.

Get your copy here…(pdf)

You can download the UK analysis here. It provides the diligent reader with definitions of a SocEnt, and the governance forms currently used by UK enterprises with a social mission.

The work is strong on the historical context of SocEnt development in the UK, as well as offering a critique of the fiscal, governance and research frameworks that do, and will, affect the development of community focused enterprise in the future.

The document also contains a useful set of appendices, that offer insights into stakeholders at national level, a governance form comparison and quick reference guide, as well as a set of references for the text that are an ideal for ‘more reading’.

This ‘Country Document’ from Europa.eu is written by Fergus Lyon, Bianca Stumbitz and Ian Vickers. It deserves to be in your SocEnt development tool kit, we think.


MRA Associates, in their freely available knowledge base, have an interesting and informing article about registered societies, which those exploring new governance forms for social business may find useful.

See more here: https://www.mrassociates.org/knowledge-base/specified-accommodation/cat-1-exempt-accommodation/tell-me-more-about-registered-societies


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, from an executive guru which decried, as a management technique, the announcing of your plans…lest you stumble and they all come to nought. (All business is risk, even a ‘social’ one!…Ed)

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 those 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 highly 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

  • To maintain and continue to consolidate activity with our clients for SocEntEastMids in the six counties region of its published focus – free delivery of support, advice and resources for the creation of  socially useful enterprise.

 

    • A new brand and energy for change
  • 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.

 

  • To scope and deliver this rural enterprise support across The Midlands, East Anglia, Lincolnshire etc., where rural enterprise is, arguably, remote from the national policy debate and one to one encouragement is thinly spread.

 

  • 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.

 

  • 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.

 

  • To focus our Muntjac energy initially on a Enterprise Change Hub, development of Community Banking networks, and Employee Ownership advice and change support. This latter may well spill over into help in creating partnerships, employee owned businesses, co-operatives, measuring impacts for baseline and business plans etc.

 

  • 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.

Seasonal best wishes from all of us!

This is a great volume on Community Wealth Building, newly available from Polity Press. Inspired thinking – drivers for action.

Free delivery when you buy this book from SocEntEastMids…

Joe Guinan and Martin O’Neill make the case that ‘…a new model of economic development is emerging in our cities and communities. Offering real, on the ground solutions to localities and regions battered by successive waves of disinvestment, de-industrialisation, displacement and dis-empowerment…(new) approaches capable of producing more sustainable, lasting and equitable economic outcomes’. (Source The Case for CWB, p.1)

Buy this book here

This book, and the work of the Centre for Local Economic Strategies in Manchester were inspirational in 2019. You can read our response to this development thinking, and our micro-business approach to change, here.

We still welcome all enquiries for our services and support in 2020. SocEntEastMids – free resources for the building of socially useful business.

 

Building a new SocEnt web

We are delighted to be supporting the launch of a new community web design, hosting and update service – blueQuarter.co – part of Broadway SocEnt in Burton on Trent.

blueQuarter logo - image and web link
Discover blueQuarter SocEnt services here…

Our Partnership support packages for SocEnt include free web provision, of course, and we are pleased to be developing in-house training and technical expertise for Broadway, as well as donating the core infrastructure to make this sustainability step a success for them.

As part of Broadway Social Enterprise, this new, fully managed service, is designed to respond to the needs of community groups, social enterprise, charity and education needs.

All the money spent by their clients, on  blueQuarter web services, goes directly to support their community projects at Broadway SocEnt and Muddy Boots in particular.

See more at http://www.bluequarter.co/

If you would like a Social Enterprise, with a local community at its heart, to help you deliver your next set of web pages, or to revise or modernise something you already have, then blueQuarter would be happy to help.

For an informal discussion to explore your next managed web presence, or just to find out more – contact tim (at) bluequarter.co

Always happy to help.

‘We build in WordPress, but are not anchored by geography for this service, only in our commitment to effect change where we live. Contact us from anywhere!’

………………

Editorial Notes:

blueQuarter.co is the managed web service of Broadway Social Enterprise Limited, a community enterprise based in Burton on Trent, Staffordshire, UK.

The technical resources for our service have been donated and developed in partnership with Social Enterprise East Midlands and the SmithMartin Partnership in Cambridge UK.

A long time web and communications supplier, our team are developing their in-house expertise and providing their technical infrastructure.

John Birkett, Chair of Broadway SocEnt has said ‘…we are delighted with this new development for our SocEnt. Not only will we be able to sustainably provide professional and technical support to others in our sector, but will be able to transform the training and knowledge uplift of our existing, and new, SocEnt volunteers…’.

…………………

Other web-tech works in progress Broadway have to be completed:

In the Autumn Broadway hope to launch The Book Bobbler, our new resource for children’s books and arts activity. See http://www.bookbobbler.uk/

Finally to complete their SocEnt sustainability plan, they will be completing and launching the Broadway Broccoli service – an organic veg box service – working to deliver healthier diets and good food in their geographical area of distribution. See http://www.broadwaybroccoli.co/

SocEntEast Mids is a proud sponsor the work of Broadway SocEnt…

The  SocEntEast Mid Team


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!