Tag Archives: sustainability

The social entrepreneur skill landscape ahead?

The future, post-Covid and all the economic and social change that lies ahead, will need to bring with it a commitment to both training and re-skill for many, but also a distinct, hardy and tenacious set of practical and soft skills for the enduring entrepreneur.

Image, looking to the future
Looking to the future: Image by Benjamin Davies, Creative Commons, Unsplash

This is the message contained in a useful and perceptive series of articles to come from Pioneers Post. It is a landscape of compassion, certainly, given the context of the work, but also a landscape of uncertainty that will be managed through endurance, creativity and a survival ethos.

A heady cocktail of needs for the social entrepreneur looking to the future.

See the original article here: https://www.pioneerspost.com/business-school/20210331/how-no-regrets-skillset-can-arm-social-entrepreneurs-uncertain-future

‘Experts have warned that half the world’s employees will need to be reskilled by 2025. But with which skills? In our new series, Emerald Works’ Kevin Dunne and Social Enterprise Academy’s Claire Wilson set out seven critical, “no regrets” skills that social enterprise leaders will need to flourish in the post-Covid-19 landscape.’

The seven key skills, promoted by the authors of this thinking are sound and relevant  – especially if you are on the brink of leading your new SocEnt project up the enterprise foothills to sustainability.

We were worried, diving into the article, that this was a promotional pivot for a hardened, corporatist lean-into enterprise for good. We should not have worried. Vigorous commitment to the seven principles espoused can, we see, develop individuals with strong technical skills.

Skills that allied with the compassion that got them into the sector in the first place, may well be the key to all our survival.

Read the Pioneers Post article and see if you agree with the position? We do!


Update: 02.04.2021

Resilience, the first skill in the survival argument – see more https://www.pioneerspost.com/business-school/20210331/survival-skill-no-1-resilience


Rural Economy Toolkit

Rural economy Toolkit - cover image
View, print or download a copy here…

Poverty and economic and social exclusion can often be invisible in rural areas, we would argue. The trees are no less green, the landscape no less bucolic, if the individual residents or communities are economically and socially disenfranchised.

During 2020 and our following of the thrashing dragon’s tail that is Covid, the media is full of economic data, socio-economic opinion and, perhaps the newest media feature, the ubiquitous graph.

How many of us, we wonder, fully understand the context of the data we are being asked to support or accept. How many of our communities can use data to successfully mount the argument that their’s is the community that needs to be refreshed and supported too?

There is a new toolkit on the block in 2020.

The Institute of Economic Development (IED) and the Rural Services Network (RSN) have devised a new practitioner-focused toolkit which is intended as a guide for “anyone seeking to raise rural relevance in the economic agenda”.

  • This pivotal report looks at the current policy drivers and meta-trends governing the development of the rural economy.
  • There is a strong section on the collection and analysis of data to establish the needs and desired outcomes for a given community of interest.
  • Finally, the document looks at best practice in the rural environment, ranging across coping with ageing in communities, wealth creation and digital expansion, or the need for it.

There is nothing in the toolkit that will be radical for the dedicated, urban social entrepreneur. What the toolkit does is to translate ambitions into a rural context, helping the players in communities to shape and define their developmental argument.

The toolkit also offers, we think, very sound thinking in its data analysis sections on how deep to drill for data, how to manage and structure what you find and finally, what the output should look like.

All skills and limitations that any or all researched arguments for economic development can use. Be they rural or devoutly urbanist in approach.

You can discover more here – https://ied.co.uk/insights/the_rural_economy_toolkit/

We wish all our readers, clients and new friends in 2021 the very best of everything and a brighter, busier, more convivial context for their projects…


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!’

………………

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!