Social enterprises do great business at launch of Shop for Change

What an exciting day it was yesterday – we have been on a journey for the past 9 months to understand how best to grow new markets and support existing social enterprises. We quickly understood that social enterprises delivering services is the best kept secret in Birmingham and we faced a huge challenge to grow the market opportunities for this sector. Market Makers, our project funded by Be Birmingham, had already helped us to understand the markets social enterprises are operating in, but we had a big shock – we found out that hardly any social enterprises are buying business to business services, by that I mean things like marketing, printing, cleaning, etc. The challenge for me was how do I raise this issue – ‘A Campaign’ to change the way we buy seemed to be the solution.

‘Shop for Change’ is all about getting organisations to pledge to buy from social enterprises and in the very challenging times how and what we are all buying this seems to be more important than ever.

The launch was fantastic; we had 100 people attending, all committed to this new way of purchasing. There were 25 organisations displaying their services/products and there were enormous amounts of trading going on. People were reporting that this was the best trading event they had ever attended and today I have met people who have reported that they are following up ‘leads’ generated.

The next challenge for us at ISE is to support organisations on pricing, customer services, understanding the customer journey and delivering new markets.

The energy was amazing, since then we have found out that one social enterprise providing anger management and support for stress in the workplace did over £10, 000 of business at the event and another had their first customer for their new social enterprise nursery! We have decided to make this an annual event.

The campaign continues with press releases, networks events and 1:1 support – Contact us for more information at shopforchange@i-se.co.uk.

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