Tag Archives: sustainability

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.

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!’

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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


£5.5m Northern Impact Fund launches for social enterprises

 

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…

Find a full copy/Press Release about the new fund here

Find a full grant/investment profile for the new Fund on-line here

Think Enterprise!

A new magazine, Think Enterprise, from the IOEE.

‘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.

You can find the IOEE on-line here.

Starting your new social business in 2016?

Planning your new social enterprise in 2016?

The Key Fund have 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.

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View, print or download your cashflow template here (MS Excel file).

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View, print or download your Business Plan template here (pdf file).

internetIconMini View, print or download your Loan Illustrator here (MS Excel file).

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View, print or download your personal survival budget template here (MS Docx file).

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.

So, wherever you are on your social business journey in 2016, from first idea to seeking social investment, you can contact The Key Fund Team here.

A happy and enterprising 2016!

Recruiting for the Elvaston Castle board….

 

Image: Formal gardens at Elvaston Castle…

The new board to facilitate the growth and development of Elvaston Castle is now being recruited.  Derbyshire County Council, in partnership with the National Trust and the local community, are the lead body for the development process…

‘…we’ve recently appointed a Chair of an advisory ‘Development Board’ for Elvaston Castle, and are now looking to recruit other Board members who can bring a range of expertise to bear including business planning and finance, fundraising, built and cultural heritage, and partnership working.

The Development Board will work in partnership with Derbyshire County Council and others to champion the formation of the new managing body for the Estate that will ultimately take on responsibility for the Estate and make the Vision a reality. Future Elvaston 10 Year Vision Plan.

internetIconMini  Source: http://www.futureelvaston.co.uk/development-board/

The historic gardens and buildings of the estate, situated between Derby and Nottingham, are in need of investment, sound strategic management of a new future, all combined with a sensitivity and acknowledgement to the work of preservation and community engagement that has gone before.

You can view, print and download a copy of the Role Profile and Terms of Engagement for the Board posts here.

For an informal discussion about the role, please do not hesitate to contact Nick Sellwood, Elvaston Castle Project Development Manager, National Trust on 07876 591932

Closing date for applications: 5pm on Friday 10th April 2015

Interview Date: It is planned to conduct interviews on Thursday 7th May 2015

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

Good for Business?

businessforgoodButtonThe 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.

You can find more about the work of the project on our events page, or see the Nottingham City Postgraduate Social Business Programme on-line here.

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…


 

Paul CaulfieldDirector of the MBA in Corporate Social Responsibility at Nottingham University Business School

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!

Toni EsbergerCEO of Nottingham Circle

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.

Roger MoorsCEO of SEEM

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 KnoxBrand Developer, Business Designer and Creative Interpreter for retail business

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 GreyFounder of Food Freedom

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.

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