FoE/The Warehouse is looking for social enterprise suppliers of retail items… Interested?

This, just in from our friends at FoE/The Warehouse.


If you are interested in joining FoE’s supply chain please contact the general manager Phil Burrows on 0121 632 6909 or send him mail.  He will need to know your wholesale terms, conditions and prices. Many thanks!

Digbeth Social Enterprise Quarter celebrates 2nd anniversary with special Xmas event

Digbeth Social Enterprise Quarter was established in 2013 as an initiative to unite all Digbeth-based social enterprises, encourage peer to peer support, and get more people “buying social”.

DSEQ is celebrating its 2nd Anniversary this Christmas and invites you to get into the festive spirit, meet old and new friends — and buy social!

 Send mail to book a place.
To book a stall send mail to Marija Sakalauskaite.


The Women’s Enterprise Hub Sparkbrook is Officially Open – Come and See Us!

Women across Birmingham can now take advantage of the space and business support on offer from the new Women’s Enterprise Hub in Sparkbrook. Our aim is to help women gain the confidence and skills they need to aim high and realise their full potential in business.  The Hub will be managed by iSE with Birmingham City Council as the landlord.

Sir Albert Bore opens WEH Sparkbrook (L to R): Sir Albert Bore, Leader, Birmingham City Council; Michelle Smith, Second Pedals; Mariam Yate, Second Pedals; Sarah Crawley, Chief Executive, iSE; Naomi Robinson, The House Nannies. © Ian Cuthbert |

We have been operating a Women & Enterprise programme on a virtual basis over the past year, while the Hub was being created.  During that time we have supported over 100 women to either start up or develop a business.  We now have a wonderful environment at the Hub offering small business units, large meeting rooms and flexible hot desks and we look forward to being able to support even more women in the year ahead.

We were delighted that three of the women we have supported – Naomi Robinson from The House Nannies and Michelle Smith and Mariam Yate from Second Pedals – agreed to speak at the official opening event alongside Councillor Sir Albert Bore, who unveiled a plaque and helped me cut into a celebration cake!  You can read their inspiring words here see some pictures from the event here.

We have a lively programme of events planned and welcome men and women to attend these or to use our space for meetings and training sessions.  For further information go to the Women & Enterprise website, send mail for specific enquiries email  or call 0121 663 1711.

We hope to see you soon!

CitizenHome — new social enterprise retailer opens in Jewellery Qtr

Helen Worrall — a happy shopper at the launch of Citizen Home

The stable of enterprises run by Citizen Coaching has grown again. First there was Citizen Coaching, providing counselling services; then there was Citizen Click offering great value web design, IT support, social media training and more.

4Mgs-AqbAnd now, there is CitizenHome.

Yes, the “Citizen Group” — which is what we will have to call it at this rate — has just opened its first retail outlet, CitizenHome, selling beautiful homeware and gifts, all sourced from social enterprise manufacturers or ethical independents, at 82 Vyse Street in the heart of the Jewellery Quarter.

CitizenHome continues the Citizen ethos of creating employment opportunities, especially for young people. Speaking at the launch party last night, founder Martin Hogg explained that as well as showcasing and selling social enterprise produce, there is room at the premises to offer workshop space for makers, to extend the retail floorspace, and to utilise the lovely walled courtyard for a range of outdoor events — pop-up auction events, summer dinners, herb garden….you name it. The shop has already  created employment for three young people

CitizenHome officially opens today, the 24th November, and there will be goodie bags worth £15 for the first 30 purchases over £30.

The shop will be open seven days a week: Mon-Fri 10.30am-6pm, Sun 12 noon-4pm, with extended trading on Friday 27th November for Black Friday.

So if you’re looking for unusual gifts, gorgeous homeware or just a special treat to take the edge off the working week, drop by the Jewellery Quarter and see what CitizenHome has to offer. You won’t be disappointed.

There was a terrific turn-out for the launch party last night, as you can see in the gallery of pictures below. Suppliers were heavily represented but so too were long-time sector supporters from across Birmingham and beyond. It was great to see so many familiar faces.

CitizenHome reflects a new — and arguably overdue — shift in the social enterprise towards retailing, and is to be welcomed.

We plan to bring you further news on new developments in social enterprise retail shortly — because while retail is a growing force in the sector, it is not widely known or promoted.

Follow CitizenHome on Twitter @CitizenHomeJQ.

Follow on Facebook.

Ring on 0121 792 1424.

There was an interesting footnote. Amongst the odds and ends left by previous tenants was a framed picture of a robust gentleman with a vigorous moustache. Written in copperplate on the back was the following: “This is Ernie Griffiths who started E J Griffiths Jewellers in 1918 when he returned from the 1914-18 war. The shop moved here to 82 Vyse Street in 1922. It closed in September 1996.”

Well, 82 Vyse Street is being given a new lease of life and a new purpose — a new social purpose — and we congratulate Martin Hogg, Mark Ellerby, the team from Citizen Coaching and Citizen Click and everyone else — including Vee’s Deli, which catered the event — for making CitizenHome happen.

Roots HR extends free social sector training offer for new year — launching on Social Enterprise Day 2015


Roots HR CIC is celebrating a 6th year of social impact on Social Enterprise Day on 19th November 2015 by extending its sought-after free training for 2016 with new topics, new locations and more dates. This follows the great success of last year’s training events, all funded through the organisation’s profits.

Roots HR reinvests its trading surpluses in the development of managers and leaders in social sector organisations by offering free places on its popular and highly effective Essential HR, Recruitment and Selection and Equality and Diversity training courses, tailored to the sector. Delivered by Alison Smith Chartered MCIPD, one of Roots HR’s team of fully qualified HR Consultants and sector specialists, these courses will run in Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Nottingham, throughout January – June 2016.

Jan Golding, founder and Chief Executive of Roots HR CIC, says:

“We are very pleased to considerably extend our free training for 2016 following a strong trading year in 2014-15. These courses are ideal for new and developing leaders and managers in charities, social enterprises, community and voluntary groups and all forms of not-for-personal-profit organisations.”

Demand for the courses will be high but you can register your interest in advance by sending mail to Roots HR.

Read the press release.

The Roots HR team

Public Contracts Regulations 2015: Implications and Opportunities for Social Enterprises — free new guide from Anthony Collins Solicitors

We’re early with this, but why wait? Here, in plenty of time for Social Enterprise Day 2015, and as a contribution to it, we have teamed up with our good friends at Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP to bring you, hot off the press, a new guide to the recently enacted Public Contracts Regulations 2015. Read on to find out more…

On the 26th February 2015 new laws came into force – the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (PCR 2015) – intended to streamline public procurement and make it more open to small and medium enterprises, social enterprises and third sector providers.

So if you have heard about PCR 2015 but haven’t yet had a chance to work out its implications you’ll be pleased to know that our good friends at Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP have kindly produced a guidance note for us all.

It is is intended for social enterprises that want to better understand PCR 2015, and in particular want to know how this legislation, along with the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012, may help them maximise the opportunities offered by public sector contracting.

Download:    Public Contracts Regulations 2015: A Guide to the Implications and Opportunities for Social Enterprises.

 You can read our extensive archive of materials and resources on public contracting and social value here.

 You can read all our blog posts tagged social value here.

Also available on the Anthony Collins Solicitors website.

BSSEC gratefully acknowledges the Barrow Cadbury Trust’s financial support that has made the production of this and other recent resources possible.

DESIblitz wins Asian Media Awards best website 2015

L-to-R: DESIblitz news editor Scarlett Leung and Director Indi Deol receive best website award at AMA 2015

L-to-R: DESIblitz news editor Scarlett Leung and Director Indi Deol receive best website award at AMA 2015

DESIblitz, the British Asian lifestyle webzine launched in 2008 by Birmingham social enterprise Aidem Digital CIC, has won the prestigious Asian Media Awards 2015 Best Website award for the second time in three years. The prize was awarded at a gala event held in Manchester on October 29th 2015.

Aidem Digital is a social enterprise dedicated to developing and delivering media projects that have a social impact.

Since last winning this high profile award in 2013, DESIblitz has grown from strength to strength. Director, Indi Deol, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for the DESIblitz team, and a great recognition of all the hard work that goes into producing the quality content that you see on a daily basis. Marketing agencies often think that Asian media doesn’t carry any weight amongst mainstream publications, particularly in the online world. But DESIblitz readers have grown by 160% in the last year. That in itself is proof enough of how relevant and vital Asian media is in the digital and online sphere.”

DESIblitz lead editor, Aisha Farooq said: “I am continually surprised at the sheer number of talented applicants that come to us on a daily basis. It is proof enough of how limited opportunities like these are out there in the media world. DESIblitz provides journalistic development and support for young budding writers, editors and video editors and gives them the chance to live and breathe real journalism and produce content that actually matters.”

Congratulations to everyone at DESIblitz and Aidem Digital CIC.

Gateway Family Services wins top Public Health award


Gateway Family Services CIC, nine years old this year, is celebrating in style — by winning the prestigious 2015 Public Health Minister’s Award.

The award, established in 2014 by Jane Ellison MP, the Minister for Public Health, and supported by the Department of Health, recognises excellence and innovation in public health.

Gateway was joint winner of the award with The Big Life Group.

Gateway was recognised for its Making Health Work scheme, a project commissioned by the Foyer Federation to get young people thinking about the links between health and work.

The award was presented at the Royal Society for Public Health conference on 22nd October at the King’s Fund, London.

Speaking at the ceremony Jane Ellison MP, Minister for Public Health, said: “Gateway Family Services and Big Life Group are outstanding examples of how organisations, large and small, can improve the life chances of the people in their communities, through developing local skills, knowledge and networks to target interventions to where they are needed the most.”

Michelle Smitten, Gateway’s employment and skills manager, said: “These awards validate the hard work that we do as an organisation. It is rewarding that our staff are acknowledged more widely for the support they provide to clients and it also highlights the fact that a small organisation like ourselves can have a large impact and make a difference.”

Congratulations to all at Gateway Family Services.

L-to-R: Jane Ellison, Minister for Public Health with Ann Forletta, Chair, and Katherine Hewitt CEO of Gateway Family Services accepting the annual Public Health Minister’s Award. Picture Matthew Walker.

BCDS Accountancy says “get a social return on your accountancy spend”

BCDS Accountancy UpdatedBirmingham Community Development Scheme Ltd (BCDS) was founded by Clifton Cameron [pictured] in his flat in Lee Bank, Ladywood in February 2011. His aim was to establish an organisation that could support young people who are at risk of offending, including ex-offenders and serving inmates.

BCDS already operates a number of community projects serving Digbeth, Highgate and St Andrews but it also sets up income-generating ventures to help fund this work. BCDS Recruitment is one of these and the organisation has now branched out into accountancy services, setting up BCDS Accountancy to offer quality accountancy at unbeatable prices for local businesses, social enterprises, voluntary groups and individuals.

Whether you’re self-employed, running a small business or growing rapidly into a large local enterprise, BCDS Accounting Service would like the opportunity to tell you more about how it can help you.

Clifton Cameron, CEO

Clifton Cameron, CEO

The company’s aim, says Clifton Cameron, its chief exec, “is to provide professional financial guidance and help ensure that individuals and businesses are compliant with HMRC and legal accounting regulations. But we’re also committed to improving the quality of life in Digbeth, Highgate and Ladywood and the professional services we offer in the marketplace help fund this work. Why not give us a try and get a social return on your accountancy spend?”

Chowdhury Rezaul Islam, Director

Chowdhury Rezaul Islam, Director

To arrange a phone discussion or visit please send mail to Mr Chowdhury Rezaul Islam [pictured] or ring the office at the Saturn Business Centre, Digbeth, on 0121 794 0616 (or 0772 986 3465).

You can follow BCDS Accounting on Facebook and Twitter.

Join us for the launch of the Women’s Enterprise Hub Sparkbrook

Women’s Enterprise Hub Sparkbrook – at Southside Business Centre, 249 Ladypool Road, Birmingham B12 8LF

After months of hard work, we are ready to throw open the doors of the new Women’s Enterprise Hub Sparkbrook.

Join us from from 10.30am to 12 noon on Thursday 12th November for the official opening and see the beautifully refurbished space. There are business units, hot desks, and training and meeting rooms for hire.

You’ll also be able to meet some of the inspiring women who have set up or grown their businesses over the past year with the support of the Women and Enterprise Programme. Speeches at 10.45am.

To book your place, please send mail to Serena Thomas.


Cabinet Office calls for nominations for Social Value Awards

s300_70WH-Ext-Feb2013-4_960x640Today, the Cabinet Office opened nominations for its new Social Value Awards which recognise and celebrate good practice in commissioning and providing social value.

The categories are: Social Value Leadership Award for an Organisation; Social Value Leadership Award for an Individual; Promoting and Mainstreaming Social Value Act Award; and Driving Value for Money Award.

You can make a nomination for the awards HERE.

The deadline is 20th November 2016 with winners to be announced at the Social Value Summit in February 2016.

The Cabinet Office  also announced the eight recipients of funding totalling almost £30,000 for projects aimed at helping improve the way social, economic and environmental impact is measured as part of the Social Value Act. The recipients are:

» Sustainable Supply Chains Ltd/Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
» Social Value Portal/London Borough Harrow and Local Borough Brent.
» Skillnet Group CIC/Kent County Council.
» The Prince’s Trust/Salford City Council.
» North Bank Forum for Voluntary Organisations Limited/Hull City Council (on behalf of Hull 2020 Partnership, which includes the Clinical Commissioning Group, NHS Trusts Police, Fire and the Ambulance service).
» South West Forum/Devon County Council.
» B2B North/Newcastle City Council.
» Social Enterprise UK/Shropshire Council and Salford Local Authority and Halton Clinical Commissioning Group.

This work builds on recommendations laid out in Lord Young’s review of implementation of the Social Value Act which was published in February 2015.

 You can find out more about Social Value on the Cabinet Office Information & Resources for Social Value pages.

 You can read our own extensive archive of materials and resources on social value here.

 And you can read all our blog posts tagged social value here.


University of Birmingham seeks social enterprises wanting Enterprising Interns


UPDATE: Please note that if you are interested in exploring this opportunity, the closing date for Expressions of Interest is Friday 6th November 2015.

Could your social enterprise benefit from a fully funded extra pair of hands?

The University of Birmingham is looking for social enterprises to take part in the Enterprising Internships programme.

The University of Birmingham is working with Santander to offer social enterprises in the West Midlands the chance to benefit from the support of a talented student in the summer of 2016.

If you have a short term project or piece of research that you would like to complete but struggle to find the time or capacity for, then an Enterprising Internship could be the answer.

The student will be paid directly by the University via Santander and projects will last one month (20 days). Projects can take place from June 2016.

Prior to starting their internship, all students will be invited to attend training aimed at helping them understand how to be enterprising, how to make the best impact on your business and developing their enterprising skills.

You must have a base (non-residential) which the student can work from.

For more information, to register your interest or to discuss potential projects, please send mail to Amrit Sandhu.

Expressions of Interest must be submitted by Friday 6th November 2015.

Save information as a PDF.

Develop your sales, marketing and customer service strategies — free two-day workshop

Develop your sales, marketing and customer service strategies

Enterprise Mastery has just 10 places left on a fully-funded EU workshop (i.e. no cost to you) designed to help SMEs, social enterprises, sole traders.

The two day workshop will focus on where you and your organisation are and where you want to get to — and will help you develop the sales, marketing and customer service strategies and systems you’ll need in order to get there.

It will look at improving your sales process, looking at how you can work more closely with customers, develop long lasting relationships as part of your sales, marketing and client care.

Following on from this it will look at how you can generate more prospects of the right kind for your business as well as how you can work with customers that spend more and more often.

All of this will be brought together in the systems and strategies that will be the foundations for increasing the turnover and surplus of your organisation for your long term success.

To be eligible you must be: Based in the West Midlands (Birmingham or the surrounds, Coventry, Warwickshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire); have a turnover of less than €50m and fewer than 250 employees; be registered as a private or social enterprise or sole trader; and have received less than €200k of EU funded support in the last 3 years.

To register your interest by 5pm on Wednesday 28th November please send mail to Giles Brindley.

Social enterprise conference — Dudley

As part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, the proposed West Midlands Combined Authority is holding a one-day conference called Opportunities for Social Enterprise, Investment & Impact on Thursday 19th November 2015.

More information about Global Entrepreneurship Week 2015 and the conference.

Book conference tickets.

Opportunities for Social Enterprise Flyer 290915[1]

Beacon WMCA Conference Email Flyer 230915

BSSEC annual report 2015


We are very pleased to publish our third annual report since incorporating as a Community Interest Company in 2012.

You can view all three annual reports we have so far published on this page or go straight to our Annual Report 2015.

BPCN opens second scrapstore in Yardley

Birmingham Play Care Network has long been at the forefront of the scrapstore movement — using donated ‘waste’ materials from businesses and organisations and turning these into a treasure trove of children’s play materials.

BPCN’s first scrapstore operates from the charity’s base at The Big Peg in the Jewellery Qtr and BPCN has just opened its second satellite scrapstore in Yardley.

For more information about both stores contact BPCN on 0121 236 2917 or send mail.



Protect your IP — with a free expert workshop hosted by UnLtd





UnLtd has teamed up with top IP firm Mathys and Squire to bring a session on Protecting and Nurturing the DNA of your Enterprise to the Birmingham Impact Hub on the 20th October 2015.

Whatever the nature of your enterprise, you undoubtedly have some idea of what differentiates you, what drives your success, and what others might want to replicate given the chance.

What you might not fully appreciate, however, is that those things which differentiate you and drive your success now —  brand names, designs, innovations and inventions, processes and best practices  — are your Intellectual Property and the foundation for your success and ability to grow in the future.

Intellectual Property is the DNA of an enterprise — and the purpose of this workshop is to help you identify, protect and nurture that Intellectual Property in practical and commercially sensible ways both now and in the future.

The session will be held at the superb Impact Hub Brum, on the morning of the 20th October 2015 from 9am starting with a light breakfast and networking, finishing with lunch.

In order to register please send mail to Louise Cannon at UnLtd confirming your status as a social enterprise and your interest in attending this event.

The Reusers — Jericho Foundation’s new venture is helping clients, boosting sales and adding social impact

Used_Furniture_in_Birmingham___Jericho_FoundationJericho Foundation has always been committed to creating employment opportunities through its social enterprises — and now it is able to create more than ever.

The company has successfully reversed the situation of around a decade ago, when — like many — the majority of its income derived from publicly funded contracts of various types. Now, nearly 90% of Jericho’s income derives from commercial sales through its social enterprises and the company receives no government funds of any description.

Jericho’s latest venture — and its most profitable — is The Reusers, a new initiative based in Sutton Coldfield which enables items destined for landfill to be salvaged, sold and re-used — in some of Birmingham’s most deprived communities.

Jericho was able to take over a derelict building and car park adjoining the tip and create a dedicated space for donating, recycling, re-using and buying and since opening a little over two years ago Reusers has:

» Sold close to 300,000kg of material that would otherwise be in landfill. It has a current stock holding of 150,000kg of items.

» Created around 9 full time and 2 part time jobs, 5 of which went to previously unemployed people and 1 to a survivor of human trafficking.

» Delivered 17 supported apprenticeship placements for formerly NEET young people, work experience to around 25 volunteers from schools, Dept of Education programmes and the local community, and around 1,000 people per week donate or buy from the business.

The project has generated sufficient income to be financially sustainable in the long-term.

I'd have a Reusers at every tip if I could manage to do it -- Richard Beard

I’d have a Reusers at every tip if I could manage to do it — Richard Beard

Jericho’s chief exec Richard Beard says, “Reusers is one of the best things we’ve ever done. It’s extremely profitable and the environmental benefits are huge. But more than this, the social impact is terrific. It is enabling us to extend our employment support and job creation work with ex-offenders and reach new groups such as victims of human trafficking. I’d have a Reusers at every tip if I could manage to do it!”

Jericho has opened two additional Reusers Community Stores in Balsall Heath and Small Heath which supply cheap goods to the local community. What a great story of social enterprise development and risk-taking in the pursuit of social benefit. Congratulations, Jericho!

Make great videos on your smartphone or tablet — and promote your goods and services!

Social Saturday 2015 is Saturday 10th October — and is almost upon us.

The aim of Social Saturday is to raise awareness of just how easy it is to support businesses that trade quality items and services and invest profits in projects supporting the local community, international development, the environment, charities and a wealth of other progressive schemes.

What can you do?

Well, here’s an idea.  As a contribution to Social Saturday iSE is offering a free one-off event, hosted by Citizen Click CIC, to help people gain the skills and expertise to make great quality videos on their smartphones and tablets.

The workshop takes place on Tuesday 6th October from 2:30pm to 4:30pm at iSE.

Come along to learn how to make better use of the technology you already have. Let digital coms wizards Citizen Click show you how simple, well-made videos can be used to market your enterprise and its goods, services, successes and news!

Bring your smartphones and tablets with you (Apple and Android).

iSE will be posting the videos as part of Social Saturday.

This training is free but places are limited and booking is essential — please ring Gary Rogers at iSE on 0121 771 1411 or send him mail to book a place.

John Taylor Hospice shortlisted for HSJ award

Established in 1910, John Taylor Hospice is celebrating its 4th anniversary as an independent social enterprise

Established in 1910, John Taylor Hospice is celebrating its 4th anniversary as an independent social enterprise

Birmingham’s John Taylor Hospice, the only UK hospice operating as a social enterprise, has been shortlisted for a Health Service Journal (HSJ) Award in the Compassionate Patient Care category.

The HSJ Awards, which have been highlighting successful initiatives in UK healthcare since 1981, shine a spotlight on the most innovative projects in the sector. More than 600 organisations submitted entries for 2015 with individual nominations across all categories exceeding 1,600.

Director of clinical operations at John Taylor Hospice Marie Bradley said: “We’re extremely proud to be a finalist in these prestigious healthcare awards. We’re committed to delivering compassionate care to each and every person who comes to us for help and that means constantly asking ourselves how we could do more. We’re here for our patients and their families wherever they need us, for as long as they need us. To be recognised as one of the UK’s leaders in this category is fantastic for the hospice and for Birmingham.”

JTH logo

John Taylor Hospice will go on to deliver a presentation in front of HSJ’s judging panel in October.

Founded on the principle of mutualisation, JTH was gifted to the NHS in 1948.

In 2011 the hospice became a ‘new mutual’ under the Department of Health’s Right to Request process. The hospice is currently celebrating its fourth anniversary as an independent Community Interest Company.