Tag Archives: social enterprise

Social Procurement?

‘We are such spendthrifts with our lives, the trick of living is to slip on and off the planet with the least fuss you can muster. I’m not running for sainthood. I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer, who puts back into the soil what he takes out.’ ― Paul Newman : Actor

Sustainability, going green, recycling, food waste, ethical business, community, evironmentally friendly, food labelling, consumer responsibility – Google any keyword from the above and acres of electronic landscape will open up on your screen and tantalise you with calls for their individual priority.

But to make the world sustainable, right down to the house on the corner, or the single desk at your child’s school, we need a new narrative. One that is, effectively, a moderated form of capitalism…Social Enterprise is it.

Attempting to break completely the bio-rhythms of a capitalist system, arguably embedded in this country from 1750 and the start of the Industrial Revolution, is a very hard thing. To moderate behaviour, or flex direction of travel, is much easier.

If Social Enterprise is the deployment of business enterprise, not for gross personal profit, but to serve up a solution to a community need, then Social Procurement should be the keyword search to trump all others.

“Our entire system, in an economic sense, is based on restriction. Scarcity and inefficiency are the movers of money; the more there is of any resource the less you can charge for it. The more problems there are, the more opportunities there are to make money.

This reality is a social disease, for people can actually gain off the misery of others and the destruction of the environment. Efficiency, abundance and sustainability are enemies of our economic structure, for they are inverse to the mechanics required to perpetuate consumption.’ – Peter Joseph

Why Social Procurement?

Rebecca Dray in her recent article ‘What is Social Procurement‘ on the pages of Society Profits defines it thus…

‘Simply put, social procurement means buying regular goods and services directly or indirectly from social enterprises’.

In her article, Rebecca is rightly keen to focus on the high value SocEnt’s place on innovation and risk depletion. At the heart of a SocEnt lies not only care for community, not personal profit, but for also maximising community benefit .

This is the tipping point in the established supply chain, that can flex traditional corporate procurement policy and action to favour the SocEnt supplier.

In doing so, the vast corporate spend on Corporate Responsibility and Risk Mitigation can be resolved to a SocEnt procurement locus that presents the rationalisation and delivery of an agenda which guarantees ethical supply and community safety at a stroke.

As Dray would have it ‘…By nature of their social and environmental mission they also reduce environmental impact, avoid modern slavery, tackle water scarcity and so much more‘.

We can now, perhaps, slightly shade the Dray definition for Social Enterprise to read…

A social enterprise is a legal and social entity of moderated capitalism, that seeks through Social Procurement, to temper and dissolve the social ills of profit pursuit for damaging personal gain.

Not so fluid, perhaps, but effective none the less, we would argue.

The embrace of a telling argument and practical philosophy, Social Enterprise, must however be matched by the equally telling embrace of traditional business. To moderate or flex, as a goal, will always be more effective that outright revolution.

We also need to convince the non-SocEnt market of the need to join forces with our new movement.

Pat Villaceran, in a recent article on LinkedIn, entitled ‘5 Reasons Business Executives Stray Away From Social Movements‘, nicely frames the arguments corporate procurement specialists use to deflect social procurement innovation. Arguing, in the article, that the unwritten message from corporate institutions is that social entrepreneurship is somehow a less effective, minority and part-time project.

The Villaceran thesis debunks these arguments and presents evidence, very useful if you are pitching to a procurement team, just why the SocEnt supply decision is the right one. We recommend it to our readers.

The time for the ascension of SocEnt activity to be the catalyst for capitalist change is upon us. Indeed the very size of the SocEnt market place is staggering, as we have illustrated in a recent SocEntEastMids article.

Add your voice to the clamour, we know we are not alone….

“The great challenge of the twenty-first century is to raise people everywhere to a decent standard of living while preserving as much of the rest of life as possible.” ― Edward O. Wilson


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!

First Steps in Social Enterprise in Nottingham & Derby

 

 

 

 

To Nottingham, on Friday 15th February 2019 – to attend the launch of a new programme of support for budding social entrepreneurs from OLMEC.

Olmec’s mission is ‘...race equality through economic and social justice‘, and we are delighted, at SocEntEastMids  to be able to support the work.

First Steps In Social Enterprise is free and open to existing and aspiring social entrepreneurs from BME (Black and Ethnic Minority) backgrounds – across the Nottingham and Derby area.

  • Are you a sole trader, or have a skill and want to develop a business that benefits the community?
  • Have a social enterprise idea / social enterprise at an early stage?
  • Want to develop a social enterprise model from an existing community organisation?
  • Are an entrepreneur that wants to develop a social enterprise?
  • Are a working and/or living in Nottingham or Derby?

‘The programme is designed to support aspiring social entrepreneurs’ ideas through a structured 12-week programme and 9 months online support including access to a moderated FaceBook group with online training.’ Source: OLMEC web pages

  • Applications Open February 15th
  • Applications close March 15th
  • Interviews March 19th to 21st
  • 3-month programme runs March 23rd to June 15th
  • Online support runs to March 31st 2020

You can view, print or download the application form and details below…

You can discover more of the collaborative work of OLMEC here.


Application form as a pdf            Application form as a Word/ODT document


About the event:

We convened in the performance space at New Art Exchange on Gregory Boulevard, an ideal setting for an entrepreneurial engagement. Inspirational speakers, good food and coffee and an opportunity to discuss early ideas in an encouraging and non-critical atmosphere.

We enjoyed it immensely. Discover the venue here – http://www.nae.org.uk/

The speakers also gave us an opportunity to discover new resources, pertinent to the equality and inclusion agenda…

Lilollo.com

‘Languages are for everyone! Enjoy learning two or more languages with our products, games and guides.

Lil’ollo is for young learners from birth onwards, whether you are speaking several languages fluently at home or just getting started. Join our free club to receive free products, guides and more’. (A beautifully designed resource…Ed.) See more here...

Windrushgame.co.uk

‘Created by family history historian, founder of Every Generation Media and Windrush Generation campaigner Patrick Vernon OBE, this storytelling board game is designed to keep the stories and history of the Windrush Generation alive. It helps families, friends and communities share their heritage, family history, identity and culture through the sharing of stories.’   See more here…  ( A great resource to keep oral history and family knowledge alive and resonant…Ed.)

A great day, a great community and an important programme for the early social business man or woman. Apply today, we recommend it!

 

Sowing the idea

With the weather getting a little cooler and wetter, now is the time to turn to cultivation, at last. In this short article, you can find some ideas, concepts and web links to help you craft your project ideas  for a social enterprise in the hope that it flowers into reality.

Seedbed notes for a socent - image and web link
Grab our notes here (pdf)

Our notes are broad picture elements for discussion and sparking ideas.

No-one knows your community, group or collection of committed individuals for the project like you do!

You might be creating an agenda for the discussion of first principles, using the notes as a talk to support your work or pulling out some key concepts so that you can explain them to your group or community.  We hope that our notes help?

We would certainly use the content, and distribute copies, if you asked us to speak about your project at an event or a meeting. That way, conceptual information becomes grounded knowledge at the local level, we would argue.

If you embraced all the techniques and tools linked to in the narrative perhaps the noise would drown out the signal.

On the other hand, we have utilised the thinking of everyone from the technical focus of the United Nations, the depth of experience at Social Enterprise UK, to the business ‘nous’ of the Harvard Business Review.

It’s sometimes difficult not to sound ‘preachy’, when discussing first principles. That is not our intent. Rather, to use our notes, and the issues to come, to establish some sound footings for everyone to embrace, on every step of the enterprise journey.

If you have yet to take your first community group ‘conceptual’ step into the ‘seed-bed’, we hope you find something here.

As always, if we can help, just ask us.

 

 

Starting your social enterprise?

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.

Start Your Social Enterprise cover image and web link
See more here – pdf

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!


If the SocEntEastMids team can help you reflect on your start- up plans, you can contact us here. You can find our enterprise and support philosophy here.

Taking a new view

Digging a hiole - image
Getting the right direction of travel first really helps!

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.

SocEntEastMids logo and web link - About us.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.

Social Enterprise in the UK - British Council - cover image and web link
View, print or download your book here – pdf

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.

You can download your free copy here. It’s a big book, packed with information and structural insight.

 

If we can help pick a chapter and we’ll come and talk to you about it.  Contact us here.

If you need it, pick a chapter, and we’ll create a one hour workshop and come and deliver it to you.  Contact us here.

We are particularly keen to hear from community groups, faith groups, childcare and education settings of all kinds who are beginning to wrangle with ‘sustainability’.

No charge and, as our Partnership Australian colleagues say, ‘no worries’. You can find out more SocEntEastMids on our About Us page here.


UK Social Enterprise Awards 2018 – register closing soon

UK Social Enterprise Awards 2018 - image and web link
UK Social Enterprise Awards 2018 – register now…
  • Submission deadline: Now extended to Sunday 15th July, 2018…

Nominations close this Friday 6th July, for the UK Social Enterprise Awards 2018 – so you have a little time to to complete that submission to Social Enterprise UK.

Categories up for grabs include:

Category 1 – UK Social Enterprise

Category 2 – One to Watch

Category 3 – Prove It: Social Impact

Category 4 – ‘Buy Social’ – Market Builder

Category 5 – Social Investment Deal of the Year

Category 6 – Health & Social Care Enterprise

Category 7 – Consumer Facing Enterprise

Category 8 – Education, Training & Jobs Social Enterprise

Category 9 – Environmental Social Enterprise

Category 10 – Tech for Good: Technology Social Enterprise

Category 11 – Women in Social Enterprise

Category 12 – International Impact

Category 13 – Transformative Community Business

Category 14 – Employee Engagement

You can see the full application process, qualifications and how to register on the pages of Social Enterprise UK here.

The timetable for the award process looks like this:

  • Friday 6th July – UK Awards nominations close
  • early August – shortlisted applicants notified
  • mid-August – shortlisted applicants to submit governing documents and management accounts
  • September – judging panels meets to assess applications
  • October/early November – heat finals held in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales
  • Wednesday 28th November – UK Social Enterprise Awards 2018 ceremony for all 14 categories

If you are preparing an entry, good luck from all of us at SocEntEastMIds.

 

Social Saturday 2017

A date for the diary – Saturday 14th October 2017 – Social Saturday.

See more from Social Enterprise UK

‘Social Saturday is an annual campaign which inspires consumers to buy from social enterprises, businesses that put people and planet first. It is led by the national body for social enterprises, Social Enterprise UK (SEUK) and is supported by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.’

In 2016 over sixty events took pace across the UK, and this year there are lots of ways in which to get involved at home and work.

You might be a consumer looking for a social enterprise gift; work in a local authority and keen to support social enterprises in your borough; or a business looking to buy from social enterprises to improve your supply chain.

Source: https://www.socialenterprise.org.uk/social-saturday-2017

Buy Social Corporate Challenge

Led by Social Enterprise UK in partnership with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Business in the Community, a number of forward-thinking corporate businesses are opening up their supply chains to the UK’s 70,000 social enterprises. The ambition is to collectively spend £1 billion with social enterprises by 2020.  Why not join them.

Local Authorities

Within local authority settings social enterprises can play a number of key roles in your supply chain. As ethical social businesses thay can provide services to the public, fromhealth support to transport, or deliver environmental projects to protect green spaces and foster good community interaction and engagement.

Things you might do in the LA area…

  • Organising visits to local social enterprises for MPs and Councillors
  • Put on event bringing together social enterprises in your area. This could be a social enterprise marketplace or a networking event bringing together social enterprises with other key stakeholders in the area
  • Raising awareness of the Social Saturday through your Council’s communications channels

Lets make Social Saturday 2017 another fantastic day for your social enterprise.

IGNITE – the Big Energy Idea 2017

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.

You can see fuller details and the complete eligibility criteria here – http://ignitesocialenterprise.com/challenge/

 Icon for Adobe PDF   Download a pdf of Frequently Asked Questions here.

You’ll get support and a brilliant networking opportunity in the energy sector if you are successful. Don’t let the light go out on your idea…IGNITE IT


From the archive:

We last featured Ignite on the pages of Mining the SEEM in 2015. Check out that year’s process and previous winners for even more background.