There’s still time to feature in our coverage of newer, younger social enterprises

As part of our Big Lottery ‘Awards for All’ project we’re still on the hunt for interesting news stories from newer, younger social enterprises that will help illustrate new, changing and emerging trends in the sector. 

We’ve been posting these stories on the blog under the overall title of ‘The changing face of social enterprise’ and you can read all the stories we’ve covered so far.

If you’re doing something new and interesting, we want to hear about it. Tell us something about yourself and your social enterprise and we’ll see how best your story can be featuredsend mail or ring Alun Severn on 0121 233 0278. We’ll work with you to develop the story and feature it here on the BSSEC blog.The kind of things we’ll need to know about you are:

» What you do and why you do it.

» The community benefit / social value you deliver or intend to deliver (with specific examples if possible).

» A bit of background — how long you have been operating, why you began, any notable successes or milestones.

» What you want / need from people who read the story — e.g. do you need volunteers, contributors, funders, donors, referrals, partners?

Background to the project — PDF.

→ Every one of the stories we’ve covered has something instructive to say about how the sector is developing and changing. In this post we reflect on some of the things we have learnt from covering these stories so far.













New-start stories: the unvarnished truth — 23rd April, 5-7pm, Evolve @ The Adam & Eve

It’s extremely hard for new social enterprises to find a time and place to discuss shared problems, reflect on their experiences, have a good natter — and if needs be let off steam. We thought it would be a good idea to sponsor a City Drive event which we hope will offer just such an opportunity. There’s still time to book. Come along, have a bite to eat, and enjoy.

BOOK by emailing Elizabeth Forrester at iSE.







What does a social enterprise consultant do all day?

If you have ever wondered what a social enterprise consultant does all day, there is a terrific post over on the iSE website by Elizabeth Forrester which will satisfy your curiosity.

iSE’s Elizabeth Forrester

From fine-tuning business models to developing marketing strategies; from financial planning to confidence-building — it’s all in a day’s work, whether for a boat hotel, a conceptual design enterprise, or a Muslim marriage project.

You can read the full post HERE.

To find out more about how iSE supports social enterprise start-ups across Birmingham ring 0121 771 1411 or send mail to Elizabeth Forrester.

Share your memories of John Taylor Hospice

John Taylor Hospice, the UK’s only social enterprise hospice, has just launched an appeal for stories, reminiscences and memories from people who have some prior connection with the hospice.

For more than 100 years JTH has helped and supported thousands of families and employed hundreds of staff. And as the oldest non-denominational hospice in the country, it is in a special position to chart the history of the hospice movement — by collecting stories from people it has cared for and people who have worked for the organisation.

Maybe you remember visiting a grandparent at the hospice as a young child in the fifties. Perhaps you even nursed there in the sixties or seventies. Or perhaps a loved one was cared for by JTH’s community teams when they were newly established in the eighties.

Whatever your memories, JTH would love to hear them and share them on the special living history page of its website.

If you have a memory you would like to share please email it to JHT.

You can read more about the project HERE.

You can watch two short films HERE featuring the vivid recollections of Pat Seickell, who was a community liaison sister at JTH in the 70s and 80s, and Part Murr, now in her 90s, who was a nurse at the hospice in the 1950s.

(L) Pat Murr, 90, and (R) Pat Seickell, 79. Both served as nurses at what was then known as the Taylor Memorial Home



ART’s Steve Walker wins Responsible Finance leader of the year

L-to-R: Amal Gomersall of Citi, Dr Steve Walker of ART Business Loans, Jennifer Tankard of Responsible Finance, and broadcaster Kaye Adams at the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards

It has just been announced that Dr Steve Walker, co-founder of ART Business Loans (ART) and chief executive since before its launch in 1997, has been named Responsible Finance Leader of the Year at the 2018 Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards.

The UK-wide awards, delivered in partnership by the trade association Responsible Finance and the Citi Foundation, celebrate the valuable work of responsible finance providers from around the UK, covering areas from growth and sustainability to society impact and resilience as well as leadership.

Steve was recognised for his contribution to the growth of ART and the Responsible Finance sector, his passionate championing of access to finance for enterprise, and the impact that ART has had on the economy of the West Midlands over more than 20 years.

Well known and respected throughout the business finance sector, Steve worked at Barclays for 29 years before helping to establish ART. Since then he has served on a number of committees and task forces informing local, regional and national government policy on access to business finance. He was made a Doctor of the University of Birmingham in 2007 in recognition of his work as a champion of enterprise in the City.

Since launching ART has lent over £24m to more than 1,000 businesses, enabling them to create or protect in excess of 7,000 jobs. Now based at Innovation Birmingham Campus, ART lends between £10,000 and £150,000 to viable business across the West Midlands that are unable to access any or all of the finance they need from the banks.

The seven-strong ART Business Loans team focuses its cultural ethos around targeting those who have been traditionally deprived of opportunities, including under 25s, over 45s, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups, women and people with disabilities. At least 75% of the businesses that ART lends to fall into these categories.

Speaking at the awards ceremony in Glasgow on the 20th March Steve said, “I am delighted to receive this award, especially as the passion to support access to responsible finance and the passion of the entrepreneurs we look to support has been so evident during the evening. Any viable business should be able to obtain the finance it needs to survive and grow. It is deeply satisfying to us at ART to be able to play our part in stimulating the creation and growth of a wide variety of exciting and innovative ventures, helping our borrowers to create or protect jobs in the process.”

We congratulate Steve on this well-deserved recognition.

New-start stories: the unvarnished truth — 23rd April, 5-7pm, Evolve @ The Adam & Eve

Since July of last year, as part of an Awards for All funded project BSSEC been searching out and publishing the stories of newer, younger social enterprises. We have called these stories the changing face of social enterprise.

The reason for doing this was two-fold. First, the sector is changing. There has been something of a surge in what might be called grassroots social enterprise activity — new social entrepreneurs getting on and trying out their ideas, often with little previous experience. We felt that some of the stories we uncovered would help explain and illustrate these new and emerging trends.

And second, we felt that if we could focus a bit more time and effort on promoting these newer, younger social enterprises then they too would benefit. They would get some free publicity and in developing their stories might also learn some other useful lessons along the way.

Developing these stories has been a fascinating experience because it has also required us to reflect on social enterprise and on the difficulties new-starts face in a period of public spending cuts, massively reduced access to business advice and support, and increasingly complex social and financial pressures. 

One of the things that impressed us most strongly is the level of discussion we have had with some of those who approached us. This made us aware that it is now extremely hard for new social enterprises to find a time and place to discuss shared problems, reflect on their experiences — and have a good natter and if needs be let off steam. We thought it would be a good idea to sponsor a City Drive event which we hope will offer just such an opportunity. And that’s the purpose behind New Start Stories: The Unvarnished Truth. Come along, have a bite to eat, and enjoy.

BOOK by emailing Elizabeth Forrester at iSE.

 +++++STOP PRESS+++++ Read what Sarah Crawley has to say about City Drive in a new post over on iSE’s website. It makes fascinating reading because she sets in context a process that began when resources for infrastructure support for social enterprise were cut and new ways of supporting the sector became necessary…

See the full programme of CITY DRIVE 2018 events here.

Read CITY DRIVE 18 press release.

Read all the changing face of social enterprise stories.






City Drive is back for 2018 — with a packed week of events and some very special news

With 2018 marking the fifth anniversary of the Digbeth Social Enterprise Quarter, iSE’s week-long CITY DRIVE 2018 series of events will kick off again on Monday 23rd April and this year it will be very special. 

BSSEC is pleased to be sponsoring an event to showcase the changing face of social enterprise with a networking and discussion session aimed at newer, younger social enterprises on Monday 23rd April (booking details and see below).

Our friends at PSIAMS are sponsoring an event on INNOVATION IN THE CARE SECTOR on Tuesday 24th April, while Citizen Home is sponsoring a special event for retailing social enterprises on Tuesday 24th April (booking details for both events).

City Drive 2018 also marks Birmingham’s official bid to become a social enterprise city

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. The really big news is that this year, on Friday 27th April, City Drive’s final day, there will be a very special Social Enterprise Festival in the DSEQ — and this will also be marking Birmingham’s official bid to become a social enterprise city.

See the full programme of CITY DRIVE 2018 events here.

Read CITY DRIVE 18 press release.


The changing face of social enterprise — Evolve @ The Adam & Eve

Dominic Bradley, Spring Housing, and Gregg Reed from New Leaf Living outside The Adam & Eve

Today, in our continuing series the changing face of social enterprise, we look at Evolve @ The Adam & Eve. Read on to find out how an old Victorian boozer is being given a new lease of life — and a new social purpose.

There has been a pub called the Adam & Eve on the corner of Bradford Street and Warner Street in Digbeth for over two hundred years. In the 1950s it was a well-known trad-jazz venue; in the 60s, 70s and 80s it was part of Birmingham’s thriving indie music scene, and in the 90s and the 2000s it rose to prominence as a dance and club venue. But its latter years were troubled and in 2015 this historic old pub was closed down following a triple stabbing. 

But now three organisations have come together to give The Adam & Eve a new lease of life — and a very different purpose.

The building has been purchased by social housing trusts Spring Housing Association and New Leaf Living, and in partnership with Aquarius, the recovery charity, The Adam & Eve is being transformed into Evolve @ The Adam & Eve, a cafe and events space dedicated to providing training and employment opportunities for young people who are recovering from personal crisis, mental ill-health, addiction, offending or homelessness. Aquarius has responsibility for developing the Evolve cafe and events space but there will also be new flats with supported living assistance and these units are currently being built by Spring Housing and New Leaf Living.

All profits generated will be reinvested in support for young people — and Birmingham desperately needs these services because recent research by Shelter reveals that Birmingham is now the worst city for homelessness outside the south-east, with over 12,000 people homeless, at risk of homelessness, in temporary accommodation, or sleeping on the streets. In the West Midlands, government figures released at the end of last year reveal that over 5,000 children and expectant mothers are living in temporary accommodation due to homelessness. Mental ill-health amongst young people is also of particular concern. Recent research reveals that one-in-ten children and one-in-five young adults have a diagnosable mental health disorder, while access to treatment continues to worsen. The average maximum waiting time for a first appointment with mental health services is now six months and almost ten months before treatment commences.

An initial crowdfunding campaign in 2017 enabled work to begin and Evolve Cafe is now trading, offering a breakfast menu until noon, and premium sandwiches, coffee, teas, cakes and pastries through to 3pm. All of the suppliers the café uses have been chosen for their ethical, social enterprise or fair-trade values and include Union Coffee Roasters, Brew Tea Co. (which is one of the new movement of B Corporations, committed to tested social and environmental standards) and natural drinks company Belvoir Fruit Farms. You can read what its satisfied customers are saying on its Facebook page.

Evolve is Aquarius’s first foray into social enterprise but it won’t be the last. The organisation is currently developing a second coffee bar at 610 Pershore Street, Edgbaston, and has plans for a third by the end of this year. Further planned expansion into this market in 2019 will bring the total to six. By the end of this year Aquarius’s various Evolve ventures will be able to support twelve trainees, offering work experience and training in catering, hospitality, customer service, stock control and cash handling.

The development is being led by Ben Timms-Reader, Evolve’s operations manager. Ben is new to the social enterprise sector but relishes the challenge of developing the Evolve concept. “My own background has been in the strictly commercial sector,” he explains. “I was previously head of food for a major coffee chain, but when the position with Aquarius came up I saw that my commercial skill-set could be put to social use rather than just lining the pockets of shareholders — and I’m loving every minute of it.” 

Surrounded by other social enterprises — the Digbeth Social Enterprise Quarter has become justly famous as one of the largest concentrations of social enterprises outside London — and at the heart of a growing cluster of recovery services that includes Changes UK’s Recovery Central,  Evolve @ The Adam & Eve has a ready market on its doorstep. But Ben Timms-Reader also acknowledges that much remains to be done to raise the business’s profile across Birmingham.

“We’ve got a two-year development and marketing plan in place,” Ben says, “and we are about to engage a PR agency to help promote what we’re doing. But there’s a lot that people can do to help us make Evolve @ The Adam & Eve a success. One of the most important things we need is for our young people’s placements to be sponsored by supportive employers. As well as increasing the employment progression opportunities open to them, this would also enable us to focus more resources on providing the personalised, wrap-around support some need. And of course you can eat, relax, meet and hold your events and conferences at Evolve. Every pound you spend at Evolve will help us support young people.”

How you can help

Evolve @ The Adam & Eve is looking for:

 Sponsors: It is keen to find sponsors for its young people — hospitality businesses, for example, willing to offer continuing employment, mentoring or additional placements, so that it can expand the pool of trainees. Corporates that can help with sponsorship — for instance, £3,000 in sponsorship will completely cover the placement costs of a young person, and this means that Aquarius can then focus its resources on providing personalised support for there trainee.

Conference bookings: Evolve @ The Adam & Eve offers a well-equipped venue with a conference room (capacity 35 seated; 80 or so standing for other kinds of events/functions). With its raised stage and flexible lay-out, the conference room offers an unusual and informal setting for anyone looking for meeting space in Digbeth. In-house catering is available from Evolve’s own kitchen.

Cafe customers: Evolve urgently needs to spread the word about its premium cafe service. All of its suppliers are either social enterprises or  ethical businesses. So come on — help read the word. Meet, socialise and relax at Evolve @ The Adam & Eve. Treat yourself ands your friends and work colleagues to breakfast; stop by for a mid-morning coffee and Danish; have an occasional lunchtime treat.

Online sales: You can buy local, ethical and hand-made goods from the online shop.

New suppliers: And Evolve is on the look-out for new suppliers — social enterprises, ethical businesses, social mission ventures… Baked goods, produce, catering  supplies, gifts and products for the online shop… If your business has something to offer get in touch with Evolve @ The Adam & Eve!

→ Evolve @ The Adam & Eve 201 Bradford St, Digbeth, Birmingham B12 0JD

Evolve @ The Adam & Eve conference bookings & costs

Evolve @ The Adam & Eve on Facebook

→ To learn more about Evolve @ The Adam & Eve, send mail to operations manager Benjamin Timms-Reader

Read all our changing face of social enterprise stories

















The changing face of social enterprise — Chelmund’s Fish & Chips

It isn’t often we get the chance to cover the story of a new community-owned social enterprise literally on the eve of its opening. It is even less often that that new enterprise is a fish and chip shop!

A community owned chip shop? Yes, it seems unlikely. But then when you think about it, it seems an obvious idea — or perhaps an idea that has simply been waiting for its time to arrive.

Well, in Chelmsley Wood, in north Solihull, that time has arrived and Chelmund’s Fish & Chips at 856 Chester Road, Chelmund’s Cross, B37 7WG — what is thought to be the first community owned chippy in the country — opens for business on Thursday 1st March.

It all started a couple of years ago when a group of local organisations — Chelmsley Wood Baptist ChurchThree TreesSt Andrew’sOlive Branch Kitchen and specialist social enterprise consultancy firm Development in Social Enterprise — saw an opportunity to benefit the local economy on every level.

‘We saw smart new shop units going up as part of Solihull MBC’s regeneration programme,’ says Neil Roberts from Chelmsley Wood Baptist Church, one of the partners, ‘and we thought, someone’s bound to open a chippy there… And then we thought: why not us? We talked with Central England Co-Op who were building the units and they were supportive of the idea and asked us to submit a proposal.’

But even with a site in mind and sympathetic developers who were warm to the idea, it hasn’t been a quick or trouble-free process. It has taken two years of planning, negotiating and a good number of sleepless nights. This helps illustrate that as with any new business you really need participants who are prepared to stick with it. Investment in the new enterprise has come from its partners, from North Solihull Partnership, community finance provider ART Business Loans and the social investment fund CAF Venturesome (update 28/12/18: you can read more about CAF Venturesome’s investment methods and results in the organisation’s very interesting 2018 impact report).

A new social enterprise was formed to manage the business. Alan Crawford, manager at Three Trees says, ‘The partners brought together the skills required — community development, business planning and catering — and formed a dream team for a community owned business.’

The new social enterprise emphasises that the chippy is a business, not a charitable project. Dave Lane, director at Development in Social Enterprise says, ‘The only difference between us and the next business along is that Chelmund’s Fish & Chips is a social enterprise set up to reinvest its profit back into its community. It is a business model, but the profits are locked in to guarantee community benefit.’

There is an emphasis on employing local people and using local supplies wherever possible, as well as the extra benefits to the local economy as money stays in the community rather than going to distant shareholders or centralised national offices.

So what is the plan? ‘People aren’t camping outside yet,’ jokes Mitchell Sherriff, the new manager, ‘but I wouldn’t be surprised if they did given the number of people saying how long they’ve been waiting for a chippy in the area!’

After covering overheads, all profits from the chippy will be reinvested back into the community. Mike Harmon, the local Anglican vicar, says, ‘The profits belong to the community and we’ll use them to support local projects and events. And in the longer term we’ll be looking to start other new businesses too so that we can offer even more employment and opportunity in the local community.’

How you can help

Treat yourself and the family at Chelmund’s Fish & Chips, 856 Chester Road, Chelmund’s Cross, B37 7WG!

* * *

As we have reported elsewhere in this series of stories when we covered the Miracle Laundry, the trend for social enterprises to provide what might be regarded as purely commercial services marks a new direction in the sector and is slightly counter-intuitive. Rather than offering services that are synonymous with their social mission — health or services to support families or young people, for instance — these new ‘commercial social enterprises’ look for local economic opportunities where the prospects of generating a decent profit for reinvestment are good. Goods and services that local communities need are made available, but using the social enterprise business model commits the enterprises to reinvest for community good.

As someone commented on the chippy’s Twitter feed: ‘Fish, chips and community action — what’s not to like?’

We agree and we wish Chelmund’s Fish & Chips every success.

The chippy opens at 4pm on Thursday 1st March. Form an orderly queue.

→ Chelmund’s Fish & Chips, 856 Chester Road, Chelmund’s Cross, B37 7WG



→ Solihull MBC regeneration programme

See all ‘changing face of social enterprise’ stories

Ready for business– Chelmund’s Fish & Chips

Ready for business – Chelmund’s Fish & Chips













‘Talking Stalking’ — West Midlands Police invite businesses to attend a free one day event on ‘Stalking and Harassment’

Sentinel is a West Midlands Police initiative which aims to raise awareness of hidden crimes in order to better gather intelligence, support victims and tackle perpetrators. 

On Wednesday 28th March 2018 West Midlands Police Sentinel will be hosting a FREE conference to raise awareness of Stalking and Harassment and especially the risks this presents in the workplace. It is keen to promote this event to businesses and employers.

Stalking is far more common than most people think. Research has shown that of those stalkers who are not actually colleagues nearly half will present at their victim’s workplace. This creates risk not only for the victim but also for other staff who may have to interact with the stalker if they do turn up to the premises.

A stalking policy is important for maintaining a safe environment for all members of staff. If there is one in place for members of staff to use, it will help to ensure that issues/incidents are dealt with in an appropriate way and minimise risk to both the stalking victim and their colleagues and/or manager. This conference will help you spot the signs of stalking and harassment and will equip you with the knowledge you need in order to protect staff and ensure their safety and best support victims of stalking or harassment.

Join West Midlands Police on 28th March 2018 at Tally Ho Sports and Social Club, Pershore Road, Birmingham, B5 7RN between 9.00am and 3.30pm, to learn more about how you can safeguard your staff from stalking and harassment and improve the efficiency of your business.

Agenda & speakers include:

West Midlands Police Journey: Detective Inspector Jennifer Bean, WMP, Force SPOC for Stalking & Harassment.
Conditional Caution Interventions: Inspector Nicola Lloyd, WMP, Criminal Justice Services.
Commissioning Specialist Services: Nikki Penniston and Sara Ward, Black Country Women’s Aid.
CPS Case Studies and Lessons Learnt: Jason Corden-Bowen.
National Centre Domestic Violence (NCDV) and Civil Interventions: Karen Payne.
A Victim’s Perspective: Holly Taylor-Dunn, University of Worcester.
My Story: Forensic Psychologist Kerry Daynes.
Cyber Stalking: Emma Short and Professor Jim Barnes, University of Bedfordshire.
Work based/business Stalking & Harassment, Employer’s duties and responsibilities and safety planning: Rachel Griffin- Suzy Lamplugh Trust.

This event is free.

To book a place please email the West Midlands Police Events Team — send mail.

Article on managing stalking in the workplace, Rachel Griffin, director, Suzy Lamplugh Trust





School for Social Entrepreneurs Midlands — new support & grant programme open for applications

This, just in from the School for Social Entrepreneurs Midlands

Social Enterprise Learning Programme + Grant + Mentor + Peer Support

Applications to the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs programme opens on Monday 5th March with a closing date of 26th April 2018.

The programme is free to attend and is for anyone who is committed to helping people in need or improving the environment. They must be in the early stages of setting up a social enterprise, charity or impact project to make it happen.

This programme will help them:

  • Learn how to set up and run your organisation: 14 learning days, spread over a year.
  • Fund your project with a £1,000 grant.
  • Get to know other social entrepreneurs, who’ll support your plans and help you through tough times.
  • Overcome challenges with the support of a one-to-one mentor.


SSE Midlands is running a number of Information sessions where you can find out more about the programme, talk to previous participants and get some tips and advice on how to apply to secure a place. These information events take place as follows:

Birmingham, 7th March – 5:30 to 7:30 book
Walsall, 14th March – 2:30 to 5:00 book
Wolverhampton, 22nd March – 2:30 to 5:00 book
Coventry, 27th March – 5:30 to 7:30 book

Or for more information or to apply directly, go here.



Facebook — SSE Midlands

SSE Midlands — LinkedIn


University of Birmingham announces ‘Start Up Connections 2018’ — free event for start-up ventures of all types

This, just in from the University of Birmingham Careers Network…

Start-up Connections 2018

Thursday 15 March, 5:30-8:00pm, University of Birmingham

Discover the funding, support and talent available to you during an informative & vibrant event…

Greater Birmingham is an exciting hub of start-up activity and we are delighted to invite you to attend, Start-Up Connections, which will allow you to explore:

Funding: Discover a range of funding opportunities for your business from various organisations in the region, including the University and the Local Enterprise Partnership.
Support: From office space to developing your first app to exporting, there are a number of support organisations to meet that can help you achieve your goals.
Talent: The University of Birmingham is consistently ranked amongst the top universities for talent – meet students who are interested in working or interning for a start-up like yours and find out how we can support you in recruiting top talent for your start-up.

Organisations exhibiting include:

• Santander
• Dept of International Trade
• Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership
• Google Digital Garage
• Federation of Small Business
• Green Gorilla Apps
• University of Birmingham departments (B Start-Up, Business Engagement, Internships and Mentoring)


To find out more about the event — send mail


UnLtd announces drop-in session to publicise its Thrive programme

UnLtd has just announced  that it is holding a drop-in session to promote its Thrive programme.

When & where: Tuesday 20th March 1pm-3pm at the UnLtd Offices, Unit G2, The Arch, Birmingham Area, 48-52 Floodgate St, Birmingham B5 5SL.

Thrive is UnLtd’s new social accelerator that helps ambitious social ventures to scale-up their activities. It offers successful social ventures six months of intensive support with the opportunity to secure investment of up to £50,000 for your social venture.

Join UnLtd for a relaxed and informal drop in session — your chance to hear about the programme from a member of the Ventures Team and ask questions, speak to a participant of a recent Venture programme about their experiences, and network with other social ventures doing a similar thing to you.

UnLtd will also be providing some nice refreshments.


Dates now available for all forthcoming Thrive information sessions in other locations — view PDF



iSE & Women’s Enterprise Hub team up with a special ‘launch your website’ competition for International Women’s Day

To celebrate International Women’s Day this year, iSE and the Women’s Enterprise Hub are sponsoring 4 women to attend the Launch It! Workshop. A workshop designed to help you develop and launch your website in a day.

When: Thursday 8th March, 10am-4pm (lunch included).
Where: Impact Hub, Walker Building, 58 Oxford Street, Birmingham, B5 5NR.
Cost: £120.00, sponsored by ISE if you win the competition.

How to enter the Competition:

Answer the 2 questions HERE.

About the workshop

If you’re looking for a modern, simple (easy to maintain!) website to get your new business started online, this course is perfect! The workshop will take you through each step from purchasing a web address, to setting up contact forms and taking payments.

Who’s it for?

Freelancers/Self-Employed/Startups/Small Businesses/Side Hustlers. If you’re in the service industry and looking to showcase your expertise and services online.

What you’ll get

At the end of the training course, you’ll have:

A modern website that looks equally as fabulous on your smart phone as it does your computer.
Information on how to get beautiful images for your website, for free.
A website connected to Google Analytics, so you can learn more about your website visitors.
A website submitted to search engines inc. Google.
Guidance on how to add forms and take payments from customers.
Access to a Facebook group to discuss your new website, get feedback and share ideas and tips with other women in business.

What it isn’t

If you’re looking to set up an ecommerce store or provide sophisticated functionality, then this isn’t the course for you. Women’s Enterprise Hub can help you with all of those things at Ask Ada, but ‘Launch’ courses are for those looking for something simple to get them started.

What you’ll need

A PC or laptop connected to the internet. You’ll need the latest browser installed on your computer for security reasons — you can see the latest versions of web browsers HERE.

The tools used are free, but if you want to have your own web address e.g., there will be an additional cost of approx. £20 depending on the name you choose.

SEND MAIL to Mariam Yate if you have any questions.

Social Enterprise World Forum 2018 — get ready for Edinburgh… Discounts available for WM contingent

Sarah Crawley has asked that the following is made widely known to clients, friends and supporters of ISE and BSSEC.

You will recall that last year Sarah spoke at and blogged from the Social Enterprise World Forum in New Zealand, as she did in 2009 from Australia. Many of you read those posts and were excited by the new ideas and trends she wrote about. 

Well, there is exciting news just in about SEWF 2018. Read on for Sarah’s message…

The Social Enterprise World Forum returns to the UK after 10 years of travelling the world, one continent at a time. Edinburgh is this year’s host city and the event takes place between September 12th-15th.

The World Forum is an astonishing event and one that should not be missed by supporters of social enterprise. Thousands of practitioners from every industry, every continent, will be converging on Edinburgh to discuss, learn and share.

There are likely to be over 3,000 delegates and tickets sell out fast.

I have been lucky enough to arrange a 10% discount for a group attending from the West Midlands — it has to be registered separately through me. I’m also keen to have a West Midlands market place within the overall market place and am looking for social enterprises that have something to sell and promote suitable to local, national and international markets.

I am delighted to have been asked to be a speaker, which is an absolute privilege, however it might be great to splinter group for half a day where we explore a topical issue bringing in participants from other countries.

Please do get involved, it’s a wonderful opportunity to meet social entrepreneurs from across the world and learn loads! Let’s show everyone what a vibrant sector we have here in Birmingham and the West Midlands.

To find out more about SEWF 2018 in Edinburgh, how the discount package works and opportunities in the social enterprise marketplace please send mail to Sarah Crawley at iSE.

Thank you —

Sarah Crawley

You can read all Sarah’s posts from New Zealand 2017 and Australia 2009 to get a flavour of the excitement of SEWF.

Mentors play a special role in the USE IT programme — and iSE wants to recruit more

For the past 12 months iSE has been working on an innovative new project, USE IT! (Unlocking Social and Economic Innovation Together). We’ve written about the programme extensively elsewhere on this blog, most recently in this post.

One of the lessons of the USE IT programme iSE is that matching new and emerging social enterprises with a mentor is proving especially beneficial.

iSE now wants to increase the pool of mentors it can draw on. Mentors come from all backgrounds and all walks of life, and all parts of the community. Perhaps you have what it takes to be a mentor?

Read the full story over on the iSE website and contact Simon Veasey for more information: email; 07983 559266 or 0121 771 1411.

Read the full story about the first twelve months of the USE IT programme.

More about the Soho Social Enterprise Network.

USE IT mentor training workshop (photo: iSE)


Could your community building be suitable for Community Energy Birmingham’s next phase of large solar power installations?

This just in from Community Energy Birmingham…

Community Energy Birmingham is a renewable energy co-operative that funds, installs and operates renewable energy in community buildings in Birmingham. We are a community benefit society with an open membership and we are run in accordance with cooperative values and principles. We are run by a voluntary board that is elected by the membership.

We are looking for the right type of partner organisations with suitable buildings in Birmingham for our next phase of large solar power installations.

If your building is suitable then we are interested in working with you to install solar power on your building. There would be no upfront capital cost for you. You would buy some, or most, of your electricity from us, at a lower price than you currently pay your electricity supplier.

If you think you are the right type of partner for us then please click here to answer a few questions. Your building should be located in Birmingham. For general enquiries about this project please send mail to Simon Baggaley.

University of Birmingham seeks internship opportunities for arts, law & social science students

The University of Birmingham is committed to developing and strengthening links with businesses in the region, as well as supporting the growth of young talent for the future.

As part of its commitment, its Careers Network offers two placement modules for College of Arts and Law and College of Social Sciences students. These modules require students to undertake a short-term placement (40-100 hours) as the basis of their assignments.

The University’s Placements Team is keen to engage with an array of employers — including social enterprise and third sector employers — who would be keen to offer a placement. Placement providers will be required to:

  • Offer a structured project/piece of work that the student can work on.
  • Provide support to the student throughout their placement where required.
  • Lead on the recruitment process (e.g. shortlisting applications, undertaking interviews and providing feedback to unsuccessful applicants).


The Placements Team will be on hand to support all providers, from initial discussions through to post-placement debrief and feedback. The modules offer a great opportunity for employers to gain additional support, whether that’s to undertake a short term project or engage in a key piece of research, and share knowledge and experience with the next generation of business professionals.

The students work on bespoke projects that are tailored to real business needs; their contribution could support you in taking your business to the next level, while also bring new ideas and enthusiasm to the workplace.

If you are interested in this opportunity, please send mail to Sarah Hughes, placements officer, University of Birmingham.

Sarah Hughes on Twitter.



Jericho and The Bridge partnership — helping women escape from life-controlling addictions

Since 2011, the Jericho Foundation has been working in partnership with The Bridge, a non-profit organisation bringing hope to men and women recovering from drug and alcohol addictions while also serving the needs of those exiting prostitution.

An outreach from Oasis Church, Birmingham, The Bridge run three supported accommodation houses in the city, providing support in recovery, right through to re-engaging with employment and establishing independent living.

One of The Bridge’s houses

One of these houses is The Timbers located in Moseley, close to the Jericho offices. A hostel specifically for women and girls, Jericho provides voluntary work placements for Timbers residents, in addition to other Bridge clients.

During the six-and-a-half years that Timbers has been running, a total of 81 girls have come through the project, with an average stay for each resident of ten months, the lowest time being a few days and the longest stay eighteen months.

All came with drug and/or alcohol addiction and were referred by prisons, community addiction teams, rehabs and other support agencies specifically for women. As part of their recovery all clients are supported to engage in voluntary work and/or training, provided through local colleges, support agencies and local companies or charities including Jericho.

Another benefit of the service provided by The Bridge is increased contact with family including children and for those where it is safe for them to do so, this can be an important part of their ongoing development in building positive, healthy relationships. Like many other charities in Birmingham, The Bridge has faced challenges due to changes in statutory provision in the recovery world. However, because it has broadened its reach across the Midlands, referrals for the whole project have been on the increase.

Find out more about the Bridge here.

→ Find out more about the Oasis Church Birmingham here.

#birmingham #charity #socialenterprise #news #volunteering #drugabuse #backingthebridge #TheBridge

iSE takes on interns to map social enterprise tourism opportunities in USE IT area

For the past 12 months iSE has been working on an innovative new project, USE IT! (Unlocking Social and Economic Innovation Together). We’ve written about the programme extensively elsewhere on this blog, most recently in this post.

iSE has just announced that it has now taken on two University of Birmingham interns to help map social enterprise tourism opportunities in the USE IT area.

L to R: interns Rebecca and Molly

Molly and Rebecca, the two interns, will be completing original research on social enterprise opportunities for tourism in the USE IT project area. This will include studying good practice in tourism social enterprises internationally, nationally and locally, and an analysis of demographics and trends in the project area.

Their internship will culminate in a report for USE IT on potential tourism opportunities for social enterprises in the USE IT area.

Read the full story over on the iSE website.

Read the full story about the first twelve months of the USE IT programme.

More about the Soho Social Enterprise Network.