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Social Enterprise


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A short introduction to Social Enterprise.

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Social Enterprise

  1. 1. Welcome.  These  are  my  personal  thoughts  and  opinions  on  social  enterprise.   1  
  2. 2. We  have  three  ques9ons  to  answer  this  evening:  1.  What  is  social  enterprise?  I’ll  talk  about  the  defini9on  of  social  enterprise,  the  possible  organisa9onal  structures,  and  some  of  the  important  issues  for  social  enterprises.  2.  Why  would  you  par9cipate  in  Social  Enterprise?  We’ll  watch  a  video  about  crea9ng  socially  responsible  companies  to  make  the  world  a  beGer  place,  and  consider  some  of  the  issues  raised.  3.  What  are  some  local  examples  of  Social  Enterprise?  I’ll  talk  about  two  social  enterprises  in  which  I’m  personally  involved,  a  soJware  development  company,  and  a  community  development  organisa9on.   2  
  3. 3. We  are  going  to  start  with  a  short  video  from  the  Social  Enterprise  Coali9on  which  is  9tled:  What  is  social  enterprise?   3  
  4. 4. 4  
  5. 5. What  did  you  think?  Personally  I  found  that  a  liGle  confusing.  It  seems  like  social  enterprise  is  about  lots  of  buzzwords,  and  especially  green  projects.  To  some  extent  that’s  probably  true,  but  now  let’s  look  at  a  government  defini9on  of  social  enterprise.   5  
  6. 6. In  2002  the  Department  of  Trade  and  Industry  defined  social  enterprise  as  “a  business  with  primarily  social  objec9ves  whose  surpluses  are  principally  reinvested  for  that  purpose  in  the  business  or  in  the  community”.  No9ce  that  social  enterprise  is  s9ll  a  *business*,  but  that  the  defini9on  refers  to  surpluses  rather  than  profits.   6  
  7. 7. Social  enterprises  generally  fall  into  one  of  two  categories.  They  might  be  a  non-­‐profit  organisa9on  that  uses  a  business  model  to  pursue  their  social  mission,  so  an  organisa9on  that  reduces  its  dependence  on  dona9ons  or  grants  by  running  trading  ac9vi9es.  Alterna9vely  they  might  be  a  for-­‐profit  company  whose  primary  purpose  is  a  social,  so  a  company  that  maximises  its  social  impact  rather  than  its  shareholder  value.  Both  types  of  business  s9ll  need  to  focus  on  their  financial  objec9ves  to  maximise  their  social  impact.   7  
  8. 8. There  are  lots  of  possible  legal  structures  for  a  social  enterprise.  These  include  community  interest  companies,  companies  limited  by  guarantee,  credit  unions,  trading  arms  of  chari9es  and  employee-­‐owned  businesses.  What  they  have  in  common  is  their  behaviour  –  instead  of  distribu9ng  profit  to  shareholders  as  in  a  typical  company,  a  social  enterprise  invests  the  surplus  to  further  its  social  aims.   8  
  9. 9. Two  structures  that  are  generally  not  social  enterprises  are  chari9es,  where  they  rely  on  dona9ons  and  grants  rather  than  trading,  and  private  companies  who  operate  corporate  social  responsibility  programmes,  where  the  programmes  are  a  minor  objec9ve  compared  to  genera9ng  shareholder  value.   9  
  10. 10. But  it’s  important  not  to  think  of  social  enterprise  as  simply  a  legal  structure  for  an  organisa9on.  Social  enterprise  is  a  concept,  where  the  social  goals  of  an  organisa9on  are  important,  not  the  tradi9onal  goal  of  genera9ng  shareholder  value.  In  fact,  it  is  now  commonly  accepted  that  any  organisa9on  might  be  a  social  enterprise,  including  companies  limited  by  shares,  unincorporated  associa9ons,  partnerships  and  sole  traders.  The  idea  of  social  enterprise  is  part  of  the  government’s  big  society  programme.   10  
  11. 11. Here  are  a  few  well-­‐known  examples  of  social  enterprise:  Cafedirect  (publicly  listed  company)  –  one  of  the  largest  Fairtrade  hot  drinks  companies  in  the  world,  focusing  on  social  and  economic  impact  in  the  developing  world;  FiJeen  (trading  arm  of  charity  The  Jamie  Oliver  Founda9on)  –  a  business  with  four  restaurants  worldwide,  each  of  which  operate  an  appren9ceship  scheme  enabling  disadvantaged  young  people  to  learn  about  the  restaurant  trade;  The  Big  Issue  –  a  street  newspaper  published  in  eight  countries,  wriGen  by  professional  journalists  and  and  sold  by  homeless  individuals,  which  offers  homeless  individuals  the  opportunity  to  earn  an  income  and  reintegrate  into  society.   11  
  12. 12. I’m  now  going  to  men9on  a  couple  of  the  important  issues  for  social  enterprises.  The  first  is  sustainability.  There  are  various  indica9ons  of  a  successful  and  sustainable  social  enterprise.  These  include  independence  gained  through  trading,  use  of  innova9ve  approaches  and  flexible  prac9ces,  a  strong  customer  and  community  focus,  and  of  course  delivery  of  social  impact,  all  alongside  financial  viability.  It’s  important  that  a  social  enterprise  has  a  plan  just  like  any  business  to  ensure  it’s  ongoing  improvement  and  development.   12  
  13. 13. Another  important  issue  is  to  be  recognised  as  a  social  enterprise  by  the  relevant  customers  and  community.  Social  enterprise  is  s9ll  not  the  mostly  widely  understood  concept,  so  it  is  important  to  communicate  this  effec9vely.  One  aGempt  at  this  is  the  introduc9on  of  the  Social  Enterprise  Mark  by  the  Social  Enterprise  Coali9on.  This  has  specific  criteria,  and  can  only  be  licensed  by  organisa9ons  who  generate  at  least  50%  of  their  income  from  trade  and  spent  at  least  50%  of  their  surplus  on  social  ac9vi9es.  It  is  hoped  the  Mark  will  allow  customers  to  recognise  legi9mate  social  enterprises.  Unfortunately  there  is  s9ll  some  debate  as  to  whether  the  criteria  are  appropriate.   13  
  14. 14. Now  we’re  going  to  think  about  the  possible  mo9va9on  for  becoming  involved  in  social  enterprise.  I’m  going  to  play  a  video  from  TED,  a  non-­‐profit  organisa9on  devoted  to  ‘ideas  worth  spreading’.  The  speaker  is  Geoff  Mulgan,  director  of  the  Young  Founda9on,  a  centre  for  social  innova9on,  social  enterprise  and  public  policy.  The  presenta9on  was  filmed  in  July  2009,  shortly  aJer  the  start  of  the  worldwide  economic  crash,  and  considers  whether  we  should  look  at  alterna9ve  to  tradi9onal  commercial  companies.  The  video  lasts  just  under  20  minutes  and  is  9tled:  Post-­‐crash,  inves9ng  in  a  beGer  world   14  
  15. 15. 15  
  16. 16. I  hope  you  found  that  video  inspiring.  For  me,  it  seems  the  key  reason  you  might  par9cipate  in  a  social  enterprise  is  that  you  have  a  belief  that  there  is  a  different,  beGer  way  of  running  business,  that  doesn’t  have  to  be  all  about  the  crea9on  of  benefits  for  individuals,  and  can  be  more  about  improving  society  in  general.  Maybe  in  the  future  all  businesses  could  adopt  a  social  enterprise  approach.  Imagine  what  that  could  do  to  the  world.   16  
  17. 17. Now  I’m  going  to  talk  about  two  examples  of  social  enterprise  in  Sheffield.  The  first  is  epiGenesys,  a  soJware  development  company  owned  by  The  University  of  Sheffield.  I  am  the  Managing  Director  at  epiGenesys.  The  second  is  The  GIST  Founda9on,  a  non-­‐profit  community  development  organisa9on.  I  am  a  Trustee  and  Treasurer  of  the  Founda9on.   17  
  18. 18. epiGenesys.  Spin-­‐out  company  owned  by  a  charity,  The  University  of  Sheffield.  Primary  goal  is  educa9on,  through  an  appren9ceship-­‐style  scheme  for  students  in  Genesys  Solu9ons.  Also  supports  other  ac9vi9es  in  the  University  including  learning  and  research.  Started  with  some  EU  funding,  along  with  commercial  projects  to  become  financially  stable  and  viable.  Now  employs  a  team  of  six  Sheffield  graduates,  so  also  delivering  employment  opportuni9es.  Website:   18  
  19. 19. The  GIST  Founda9on.  Non-­‐profit  company,  limited  by  guarantee.  Started  by  four  enthusias9c  local  individuals.  Delivers  events,  and  supports  community  user  groups,  in  the  crea9ve  and  technology  sectors.  Personal  development  and  skill  building  for  members  of  the  local  community.  Raises  awareness  through  events  of  issues  of  interest  to  the  wider  public.  Also  helps  chari9es  through  collabora9ve  work  with  the  help  of  community  members.  Website:   19  
  20. 20. We’ve  looked  at  what  a  social  enterprise  is,  what  might  mo9vate  you  to  par9cipate  in  one,  and  some  local  examples.  In  conclusion,  my  summary  of  social  enterprise  is:  people,  with  a  passion  for  a  social  goal,  applying  whatever  business  model  they  choose,  to  carry  out  ac9vi9es  for  the  benefit  of  others,  and  ul9mately  doing  a  liGle  bit  to  make  the  world  a  beGer  place.   20  
  21. 21. Here  are  some  online  resources  you  might  find  useful:  the  Social  Enterprise  Coali9on  which  is  the  UK’s  na9onal  body  for  social  enterprise;  Social  Enterprise  Live  which  is  a  magazine  and  website  for  social  enterprise;  SERX,  the  Social  Enterprise  Research  and  Knowledge  Exchange,  which  was  created  by  The  University  of  Sheffield  as  a  network  for  social  enterprises.   21  
  22. 22. And  finally,  here  are  my  contact  details  if  you  have  any  ques9ons  to  ask  in  the  future.   22