This is the first in an occasional series of updates about things going on in the world of social enterprise (and related fields) that I think readers might be interested in. To avoid any confusion, none of the mentions below are paid-for ads but the activities I’m personally involved in will (like this blog itself) mostly be work I’ve been doing as part of my day job at Social Spider CIC. The regularity of the series will depend on its popularity.
Book of the week:
On current evidence, it would be easy to think the future of UK social enterprise was partly as a mechanism for outsourcing public services and partly as a competition to see which Shoreditch-based geniuses can come up with the silliest, most expensively innovated idea for convincing people who don’t want to volunteer to volunteer.
As discussed previously, top social entrepreneur, Colin Crooks, has a different view. He thinks social entrepreneurs can actually play a role in creating real jobs in the real economy. He explains his ideas in How to make a million job – a charter for social enterprise, which is available here for a bargain price of £6.65. I’m going to buy a copy and I hope you will too.
What do you mean ‘selling things in a shop?’:
Colin Crooks isn’t the only social entrepreneur defying convention, Common Capital‘s Dan Gregory has taken a leap even further into the unknown by helping to set up a shop that actually sells things to the general public.
The shop, Pop Shop Wiltshire, offers the residents of Chippenham and the surrounding area the chance to buy a range of locally made ethical stuff. It’s also providing opportunities for unemployed 18-23 year olds and is already attracted significant press coverage.
Why social enterprise?
That’s a big question. A few suggestions are provided in a new booklet, Why Social Enterprise? – a guide for charities, which I’ve written for Social Enterprise UK and Pilotlight – with expert legal advice provided by Bates, Wells & Braithwaite.
As someone who both runs a social enterprise and sits on the board of trustees for two charities, it was interesting to consider some of the possible ways that those charities who are currently primarily dependent on grants and donations can move towards more socially enterprising approaches. The booklet’s available as a free pdf download, so do have a read and let me know what you think of it.
What’s going on? – part 2
If anyone’s got any suggestions for things I could mention in future ‘What’s going on?’ posts, let me know.