Lucy Wood. Information for social entrepreneurs. Tips on starting & running social enterprises

Brief overview of The big Society

When the coalition government came into power in May 2010 they set out their vision for building The Big Society. The Big Society is about “helping people to come together to improve their own lives. It’s about putting more power in people’s hands – a massive transfer of power from Whitehall to local communities”. The Big Society vision focuses on three key areas:

  • Community empowerment: giving local councils and neighbourhoods more power to take decisions and shape their area. The governments planning reforms lead by Communities & Local Government will replace the old top-down planning system with real power for neighbourhoods to decide the future of their area. Read the rest of this entry »

Government, Social Enterprises

Report on Commissioning Social Enterprises

In July 2010 the Social Enterprise Coalition (SEC) published a report on Stimulating New Markets: commissioning Social Enterprises. The research sets out how commissioning can be used to create new social enterprise markets and what the barriers are to this happening. It is a guide to commissioners to help them to understand the market needs and how they can develop better commissioning methods to allow the market to grow. Here is a summary of the main points.

With a growing emphasis from government on decentralisation and looking for more cost effective and efficient ways to deliver services, social enterprises are being hailed as a key solution. On current government figures there are an estimated 62,000 social enterprises operating in the UK which contribute more than £24 billion to the UK economy. Read the rest of this entry »


The History of Community Cohesion in the UK

Institute of Community Cohesion (ICoCo) is a great place to look at how community cohesion came about and what it actually means. Here’s a chronological summary of the thinking behind community cohesion, the policies that came into place to implement the thinking- good and bad, and organisations that were set up to deal with the community cohesion agenda.

2001: Community cohesion emerged  following the riots in Bradford, Burnley and Oldham. As a result of these riots The Independent Community Cohesion Team published ” The Cantle Report”  setting out the the state of race and community relations, it was pivotal in understanding community cohesion.   Read the rest of this entry »

Books for Entrepreneurs

Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh (Zappos CEO)

A Review of Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion & Purpose by Tony Hsieh

Tony Hsieh (pronounced Shay) is the CEO of the largest online shoe store. Founded in 1999 grew rapidly and in 2008 (2years ahead of scheduled) reached a gross profit of over $1 billion. At the end of 2009 was acquired by Amazon in an all stock deal  which was worth $1.2 billion.

Delivering Happiness tells us the story of how Tony reached this point describing his entrepreneurial ventures as a youngster (where he set up a successful badge making business, failed at selling his disappearing coin trick and managed to lose 100 earth worms which escaped through some badly placed chicken wire), how he balanced parental expectations with what he really wanted to do, to talking about the successes and failures he went through as he took on larger ventures such as founding Link Exchange which he sold to Microsoft for $265million when he was 25.

Here are my top 5 reasons why all social entrepreneurs should read this book:

Read the rest of this entry »

Social Enterprises

All about Coffee in Yorkshire, UK

Roasted Coffee Beans

Recently a friend and I decided to find The Grumpy Mule coffee shop in Yorkshire. We were looking forward to tasting different types of coffee in a slick looking coffee shop where we could buy coffee machines, bags of ground coffee, coffee beans and sit down to enjoy a nice cup of coffee, cake or toast for our breakfast before we went on our way.  We set off snaking through the beautiful peak district national park heading to Holmfirth to find this Yorkshire coffee haven.

We arrived in Holmfirth and followed the directions to Bentley Road, “this must be wrong” we both remarked as the directions took us to an industrial estate, “surely this can’t be the place where the coffee shop will be”. Helen began laughing as she wound down the window to ask a passerby for a place that sells coffee. “yep you’re in the right place, turn around it’s the last unit up that road”. Well now we both felt a bit stupid but continued anyway. Read the rest of this entry »

Social Entrepreneurs

Times Online: Social Entrepreneurs Special

The Times Online has what they call a ‘special report’ on Social Entrepreneurs. This is a mini website bringing together a group of articles on social enterprise and social entrepreneurship.

A couple of the articles include:

Great to see one of the world’s biggest newspapers spending some time on this.

Social Enterprises

New Social Enterprise Funding Announced for Wales

Welsh social enterprises are set to benefit from a £7.1million injection of cash from the European Union’s Convergence Programmes and the Welsh Assembly Government.

Leighton Andrews, Deputy Minister for Regeneration, has announced that social enterprises in West Wales and the Valleys will have access to “The Social Enterprise Support Project“. Over the next five years the project aims to:

  • provide mentoring, training, support and advice for pre-start social enterprises.
  • develop sustainability and growth within social enterprises in Wales by
    • offering support and advice to 150 existing social enterprises.
    • creating more than 50 new social enterprises.
    • creating 300 new jobs.
  • raise awareness of the positive impact that social enterprises have on social and economic regeneration.
  • identify gaps in service provision in some of the most deprived Welsh communities and researching new opportunities.

The project will be delivered by the Wales Co-operative Centre in conjunction with sell2wales and a range of organisations. to read more about the project visit the Welsh Assembly Governments Website.


Importance of Social Networking Sites

Social Networking sites were put on the agenda at the recent European Commission Safer Internet Forum in Luxembourg.

According to an eGov article in the past year, “the use of social networks has grown 35% in Europe. 56% of the European online population visited social networking sites last year and the number of regular users is forecast to rise from today’s 41.7 million to 107.4 million in the next four years. In 2007 9.6 million British belonged to the country’s social networking community, with 8.9 million in France and 8.6 million in Germany”.

The article goes on to say that on average in 2007 UK individuals spent 5.8 hours a month using sites such as Facebook, MySpace, YouTube etc. That doesn’t seem so much until you see the figure for Italy which was only 1.8 hours!

The commission see that their are some great benefits to social networking sites such as:

Read the rest of this entry »


EU Launch Financial Transparency Website

Ever wondered where all the European Funding actually ends up? Well you can now find out as the EU have just launched a website and search engine  “Financial Transparency System” where you can get free access to all of the details of who receives EU funds. Currently the website houses about 28,000 entries on commission run programmes in areas such as education and culture, research, energy and transport and aid to third countries.

Through the website you will be able to analyse and compare information on beneficiaries and policy. European Commissioner Siim Kallas said: “We have always claimed that EU programmes benefit individuals, companies, and civil society across and beyond the 27 Member States. But this new part of the European Transparency Initiative enables any EU citizen to check what and when they want, and this allows for a very effective form of accountability – at the Commission’s level, but also for programme managers throughout the EU”

 Take a look at the Financial Transparency System.

Social Enterprises

Footsey Social Trade Fair 16th Oct, York.

Footsey Social Trade Fair York Racecourse

Footsey- The Social Economy Trade Fair is due to take place on Thursday 16th October at York Race Course. I attended this event last year as a stool holder for UnLtd. I wasn’t sure what to expect having done numerous trade events in the past with some being better than others, but I really enjoyed the day. I found it really interesting, it was great to nose around and look at all the new social enterprises that had sprung up over the past year and to get a chance to chat to established enterprises that I had never got round to speaking to in the past. I was also surprised by the ammount of delegates, I don’t think that I stopped talking all day. I would expect this year to be just the same only with more new and exciting social entreprises to hunt out and a good programme of discussions including:

  • Changes In The Health Sector
  • Impact Assessment
  • Sales And Marketing for Social Enterprise
  • The Legal Structure Surgery
  • Finance in a Challenging Environment (Panel)
  • Growth and Survival
  • Social Enterprise as part of the National Curriculum
  • Social Enterprise: Winning with 2012

You can get a look at some of this years key exhibitors on the Footsey website.

Registration: The registration fee for social enterprises is £48.50+VAT which is over half the price of a normal delegate fee.
You can register for the event online.