Make Someone’s Day — new movement for friendliness launches in Birmingham

Do you know that 37% of Birmingham residents aged over 65 live alone? And that almost half of all Birmingham residents (49%) say that their neighbours are strangers to them?

A new city-wide campaign — a movement for friendliness — is being launched to try and counter this drift towards social isolation and loneliness and it is called MAKE SOMEONE’S DAY.

The whole point about Make Someone’s Day is that it is about simple, achievable steps — a chat in the bus queue, a greeting and a bit of friendliness in the check-out line or while waiting for the train — these numerous small steps, magnified across the whole city, helping to create a new spirit of neighbourliness.

In every conversation…there’s an opportunity to make a difference  — Make Someone’s Day

You can find out more about Make Someone’s Day HERE or come along to the launch in Centenary Square at 2.30pm on Friday 20th March.

Come along to the launch. And if you would like a Make Someone’s Day campaign banner or other materials for circulation or display, please send mail to Elina Rosen at BVSC who has lots — and they are free!

Download the flyer (PDF).

→ Download the invitation (PDF).

Responding to change together: Funding reimagined for a new decade — WM Funders Network announces major conference

Responding to change together: Funding reimagined for a new decade
Date: Thursday 12th March 2020, 10:30 – 15:45 GMT
Organisers: WM Funders Network, One Walsall and SCVO
Venue: Walsall Football Stadium, Bescot Stadium, Bescot Crescent, Walsall WS1 4SA
Tickets: £15.00

A forthcoming conference organised by the WM Funders Network in conjunction with One Walsall and SCVO will examine new thinking and practices that can help ensure that a funding landscape exists in the West Midlands that can genuinely help the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector meet the social challenges and new trends it faces.

The event will bring together voluntary and community groups, charities, social enterprises, trusts, social finance organisations and funding experts.

The conference, the first collaboration of its kind between the partners, will be introduced and chaired by Rita Chadha, chief executive of the Small Charities Coalition and is sponsored by Brewin Dolphin, Charity Bank and The National Lottery Community Fund. Jane Ide, Chief Executive of NAVCA will be the event’s keynote speaker.

There will be breakout sessions on topical funding issues raised by VCSE and WM funding members in late 2019. Sessions include User Involvement (why should funders get involved), Measuring Success (outputs, outcomes and impact), Partnership Working (shared learning and collaborative approaches between funders and the sector), the Value of Data (how digital can help) and Sustainability (what does this mean).

Conferences like this are invaluable not just for sharing ideas but also for demonstrating how good quality funding applications need to be supported by good communications, clear planning, good governance, purposeful data and a deep understanding of world around us — Rita Chadha, Conference Chair

Amongst the VCSE organisations who will be on hand to showcase their activities and provide funders with expert sector feedback will be the Ethical Property Company, Cranfield Trust, Citizen Coaching, Dudley CVS, and Wolverhampton CVS.

For more information about the conference send mail to Dipali Chandra at WM Funders Network.

Stay tuned to the WM Funders Network and Twitter for updates.




ART launches second share offer — ‘mainstream banks still don’t understand inclusive economic growth and that’s why lenders like ART are necessary’ says CEO

Since 1997, ART has loaned nearly £30 million, helping to create and support 8,000 jobs. It now urgently needs to raise more funds or in two to three years its ability to lend will be substantially reduced, the lender says.

‘Mainstream banks still don’t understand the concept of inclusive economic growth’ — Dr Steve Walker, ART CEO

ART Business Loans, founded twenty-two years ago to support local jobs in areas underserved by mainstream finance, began life as the result of a report by the Aston Commission, a task force chaired by the late Sir Adrian Cadbury.

The Commission was set up to investigate ways of improving financial inclusion and access to business finance in Aston, its aim to try and break the cycle of financial exclusion and the indifference of the high street banks which together had helped fuel generations of unemployment in the area.

Sir Adrian Cadbury became the chair of ART’s first board and Steve Walker joined in 1996 as a secondee from Barclays Bank, where he had been Senior Corporate Manager based in Leamington. Steve became chief executive at launch in 1997 and has led ART ever since.

But this brave new world of community finance was not immediately auspicious, Steve recalls. ‘At first there were just the two of us – me on secondment and a student who today we would call an intern. We operated from kindly donated but rather ramshackle office space and in the first year we lent less than £200,000. Today, we are still based in Aston but we have six staff with a voluntary board of directors in modern offices in Innovation Birmingham Campus. We are still targeting underserved areas and communities – this remains our social mission – but we now lend £3 million a year across the whole of the West Midlands, with loans ranging from £10,000 to £150,000.’

But after helping over 1,400 West Midlands businesses grow and create jobs for over two decades, ART itself now stands at a crossroads.

‘The fact is,’ says Steve Walker, ‘we are a victim of our own success. Three-and-a-half years of Brexit uncertainty and public sector austerity haven’t helped either, of course. Demand is as big as it has ever been and we want to be able to lend more. But the harsh truth of the matter is, we have got to look at new ways of raising money for lending on to small businesses and social enterprises.’

Last year ART raised £250,000 from a pioneering community share offer using the Ethex social investment platform. This initial share offer was supported by several high-profile regional business leaders, including Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce boss Paul Faulkner, a former Chief Executive at Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest. A second share offer, providing impressive financial returns of up to 9.1 per cent per annum for five years, is open until March 24th 2020.

Since 1997, ART has loaned nearly £30 million, helping to create and support 8,000 jobs and demand for finance at the levels offered by ART continues to grow. ‘But despite the plethora of alternative finance providers who have emerged following the banking crisis,’ Steve Walker explains, ‘the appetite of the mainstream banks to lend to small businesses hasn’t grown – in fact, for reasons the banks regard as soundly commercial, it has reduced. This is why the role of a lender like ART — which is itself a social enterprise and lends in order to achieve a social purpose — remains crucial. We’re doing what mainstream lenders won’t.’

‘It is ironic,’ says Steve Walker, ‘that more than two decades after we began life we now have politicians in the West Midlands – in the shape of the metro Mayor and the West Midlands Combined Authority – who see the critical importance of what is being termed “inclusive economic growth”. They understand that “business as usual” will only increase inequalities and perpetuate financial exclusion. This is what dear Sir Adrian Cadbury was talking about thirty years ago. And yet the mainstream banks still don’t get this. They don’t see any longer-term social good – they just see lending decisions that wouldn’t be good for their profits or their shareholders.’

ART has been supported over the years by a variety of financial backers, including national and local government, businesses looking to exercise Corporate Social Responsibility, personal investors interested in both a social and financial return, and in recent years substantially by its own bankers Unity Trust Bank.

Interested in investing?

If you are interested in investing in ART and helping it do more to support the West Midlands economy you can read its full share offer document and register to buy shares HERE.

The financial return on the investment is in the form of a tax relief called Community Investment Tax Relief. This provides a deduction from tax paid each year for five years off an individual’s or company’s tax bill of five per cent, which can equate to up to 9.1 per cent for the highest taxpayer. At the end of the period the capital is returned to the investor or can be reinvested for a further five years.

Read more about ART’s 2020 share offer here.

Read the full prospectus for the share offer on the Ethex website.

ART team (l-to-r): Steve Walker, Yasar Irfat, Martin Edmonds, Christine Allen-Lloyd, Graham Donaldson, Rozna Haque

Royal Society for Public Health launches new West Mids social investment fund for VCSE health & wellbeing providers

The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) has just announced that it is launching a new social investment fund for the West Midlands aimed specifically at enabling voluntary and community sector and social enterprise (VCSE) health and wellbeing providers grow, scale-up and extend their reach.

The fund, which is supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the Connect Fund (managed by the Barrow Cadbury Trust) will be  delivered in partnership with social investor the Key Fund.

The RSPH says that throughout 2020 it will be developing a social investment portfolio that supports six VCSE providers in health and wellbeing. It is looking for investment cases with organisations that provide meaningful social impact and help tackle social and health inequalities. The aim is to help applicants scale-up and extend their reach.

The RSPH believes that finding new ways to support VCSEs in health is important. VCSEs, it says, are increasingly recognised for the services they offer in early intervention, wellbeing and addressing social inequalities, they have a strong on-the-ground presence, and are able to integrate care approaches and reach marginalised and excluded groups.

Launch event

The fund is being launched with a briefing event on the 6th February 2020, from 9.45am – 1pm, in the Cadbury Room, Aston University, Birmingham, B4 7ET.

You can book for the launch event HERE.

Download the leaflet/programme.

Read more about the new fund on the RSPH website.

WMCA pledges to double the size of the social economy over the next decade

Further to this post, the launch of the West Midlands Combined Authority’s new strategy outlining its commitment to doubling the size of the social economy sector in the West Midlands was excellent.

It was held on Thursday 9th January at the beautiful Moseley Community Hub at the old School of Art and was attended by well over a hundred guests.

The WMCA’s new commitment to the social economy grew out of a year’s work by a specially convened sector-led task force, brought together at the Mayor’s invitation. Its task was to work out how best WMCA could add value, scale and impact to the work already happening in the West Midlands to support and grow the social economy.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, spoke passionately about his commitment to social enterprise. “My years leading John Lewis,” he explained, “showed me that linking business outcomes with social outcomes delivers huge benefits.”

He went on: “We could have held this launch in a number of city centres, but that would have been too easy. I felt there was a far more powerful symbolism in holding it here in Moseley where even as we speak a new cluster of social enterprises is developing, centred on the lovely old Victorian buildings that have been given a new lease of life and new social purpose.”

The old Moseley School of Art has been reborn as a thriving community hub and shared workspace, and just across the road are the historic Moseley Road Baths which great local determination and dedication have brought back to life (covered here and here on this blog).

West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street: harnessing business outcomes and social outcomes delivers huge benefits

The social economy currently contributes around £3.5bn a year to West Midlands GDP and the Mayor believes this can be doubled to £7bn by 2029. He outlined the six “simple and practical” ways that the task force recommended the WMCA should pursue this aim. These are:

(1)  Boost the collective identity of social enterprise by strengthening and growing its platforms. 

(2)  Develop a collaborative ten-year business case for social enterprise business support.

(3)  Use the efforts of the WMCA Data & Analytics department to develop and disseminate a consistent approach for data collection on social enterprise.

(4)  Use the WMCA’s convening role to encourage all regional public sector bodies and publicly-funded projects to spend at least 5% of their commissioning and procurement budgets with social enterprises.

(5)  Work with partners to lead a campaign to encourage closer links between social enterprises and the wider private sector.

(6)  Work with social finance and investment partners to assess gaps, barriers and improvements that could could boost the impact of social investment, as well as increasing demand.

As well as calling on local authorities in the region to ensure that at least 5% of their commissioning and procurement budgets are spent within the social economy, the Mayor is also calling on local businesses to consider using social enterprises when buying goods or services.

The Mayor ended his remarks by saying that we will see progress on this very quickly, with work to help develop a detailed business plan being put out to public tender very soon.

Many of those I spoke to feel that the WMCA’s bold commitment to growing the social economy marks a new period of opportunity for social enterprise in the West Midlands. Certainly, having an overarching framework for social economy growth in the West Midlands offers yet another dimension to Birmingham Social Enterprise City and we wholeheartedly welcome this development.

Read more on the WMCA website.

Social Enterprise City — new sector trends demand new development priorities

Since reporting in this post on the new trends in the sector that our baseline survey revealed, one of the things that iSE and members of the Social Enterprise City steering group have been thinking through is identifying a new sector development framework that reflects the ways in which the sector is changing.

Let’s remind ourselves of some of the key headlines from the survey and what they mean for the continuing development of the sector.

The survey indicated that Birmingham is characterised by a high proportion of new, young social enterprises that are in the very early stages of trading and their profiles reflect this. For example:
  • 41% of SEs responding were established within the past three years – a proportion almost twice that of the national comparator figure (21%).
  • 38% fall into the lowest turnover band – £0K-£24K per year.
  • 38% don’t yet employ staff.
Also, national comparator figures (where they exist) suggest that social enterprise growth in Birmingham may be slower than in some other parts of the country: 
  • Only 14% of social enterprises in Birmingham fall into the “mid-range” turnover band of 101k-£400k, compared to around 19% nationally.
  • Only about 6% of social enterprises in Birmingham fall into the “upper-range” turnover band of £401k-£901k turnover, compared to an estimated 20%+ nationally. 
This suggests that over the next few years, Social Enterprise City priorities should focus on increasing trading and turnover, and boosting prospects for growth and in full the steering group identified four main priorities, as follows:
  • Increasing trading, turnover and prospects for growth and scale.
  • Enabling more social enterprises to access contracts, markets and supply-chain opportunities that will enable them to trade their way into “mind-range” and “high-range” turnover.
  • Enabling more social enterprises to become involved in and contribute to place-based community economic development and regeneration.
  • Access to and connection with sources of social finance.
The next step was to combine these in a coherent and achievable strategy for sector development and we believe this can be done by focusing on “scale & growth”, “place” and “engagement & access” as shown in the simple graphic below. The boxes with dashed borders show some of the opportunities that have already been identified and which will help us achieve new levels of growth and long-term sustainability in the sector. 

Click for larger view

Of course, it won’t be possible to do all these things straight away. Some of these opportunities may only require a refocusing of effort or a different way of doing things in order to fully take advantage of them, but others will undoubtedly require extra resources and we are working on this too. A major funding bid is currently in development and if successful will dramatically increase the scale and capacity of the Birmingham Social Enterprise City partnership. We’ll bring you more news of that in due course.
In the meantime, the more supporters and partners who are able to reflect the above priorities in their own support programmes and delivery models, the better.
If you would like to get more actively involved in Birmingham Social Enterprise City, or can offer help, expertise or other resources to help benefit the social enterprise sector, we want to hear from you — please send mail to Sarah Crawley at iSE.
See all posts tagged ‘Social Enterprise City‘.

John Taylor Hospice celebrates 110 years of care

Birmingham’s John Taylor Hospice this year celebrates an incredible 110th anniversary – marking more than a century of caring for local people.

One of the oldest hospices in the country, John Taylor was founded in 1910 by the people of Birmingham who fundraised to provide a ‘home of rest for the dying’. Spearheaded by city doctor and suffragette Dr Mary Darby Sturge, the hospice opened as the Taylor Memorial Home in Showell Green House in Sparkhill near the then Women’s Hospital.

The hospice was named after Birmingham’s pioneering women’s gynaecologist John Taylor and initially cared only for women with gynaecological cancers. After the Second World War, the hospice moved into The Grange in Erdington, its home for the past 70 years…

Read the full story over on the JTH blog. Congratulations to JTH — not just one of the oldest hospices in the country, but a social enterprise hospice too.

Read the full story over on the JTH blog.

Find out how you can help JTH celebrate this achievement.

Download The History of John Taylor Hospice 1910-2020.

Making Every Moment Matter in 2020 — download JTH’s events calendar.

Read all posts on this blog tagged ‘JTH’.

WMCA invites you to launch of its West Midlands Social Economy Task Force report

Over the past year representatives from the West Midlands Combined Authority’s seven constituent local councils along with social enterprise and third sector practitioners drawn from all parts of the social economy in the West Midlands have been meeting as part of a West Midlands Social Economy Task Force.

The task force has been a sector-led exploration of how the WMCA and its partners can boost the social economy across the region — and why doing so matters.

Join WMCA and guests from 2pm on Thursday 9th January 2020 at:

The Moseley School of Art Association
496 Moseley Road
Birmingham B12 9AZ

You’ll hear…
» Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, celebrating social enterprise and outlining WMCA’s commitment to ensuring that we double the size of the social economy in 10 years.
» Gillian Morbey and Carole Donnelly, co-chairs of the Social Economy Taskforce, drawing on their long experience in social enterprise and exploring the work of the Taskforce.
» Social enterprise leaders from across the region, telling stories of the mission-led work they do for our region and sharing their work via a pop-up marketplace.
You’ll enjoy…
» Delicious snacks prepared by social enterprise caterers.
» A brisk walking tour of the burgeoning Balsall Heath social enterprise cluster.
» The company of social enterprises, and a range of people from the public and private sector who are committed to enabling the social economy to grow and thrive.
Places are limited, so book today and join us in making a region with a strong, diverse social economy.

BOOK HERE (Eventbrite)

UPDATE 17/12/19

Marketplace event — calling social enterprise exhibitors:  As part of the launch event, there will be a Social Enterprise market place — with space for just 25 stall holders.

If you want to be included in this market place, please DOWNLOAD AND FILL OUT THIS FORM and email it to Charles Rapson immediately. Exhibitors will be chosen within the next few days.

A deposit of £20 will be required to secure your place, refundable on attendance.

The West Midlands Social Economy Task Force

The School for Social Entrepreneurs is recruiting…

The School for Social Entrepreneurs is seeking to recruit:

Development Officer x 2
Reporting to: Development Manager
Location: Flexible

0.8 FTE, with some flexibility. SSE is looking for two Development Officers, and would consider candidates looking for part-time (0.6 FTE+) or full-time roles.

SSE says:

SSE helps 1,000 people a year develop the skills, strengths and networks they need to tackle society’s biggest problems.

But this doesn’t happen by magic. We need to identify the opportunities and build the funding partnerships that enable us to achieve our impact — and maintain and grow these relationships over time.

That’s where you come in.

You will succeed in the role if you believe in the potential of social entrepreneurship to create social change, if you are excited about identifying new opportunities for SSE to grow our work across the country, and if you are an organised and dedicated individual, ready to apply your skills to this role.

These roles are an ideal opportunity for somebody with some relevant experience, who is looking to develop skills and experience within the social enterprise sector and/or in a development role.

Closing date: 12 noon on Monday 13th January 2019

For more details and downloads of Recruitment Pack.

Social Enterprise Awards 2019

The Social Enterprise Awards, hosted by Social Enterprise UK (SEUK) are the biggest celebration of social enterprise in the sector and a truly inspiring evening that shouts loudly about the social impact created by social enterprises throughout the UK.

This year’s Awards ceremony, held in the prestigious London Guildhall, has just taken place and it recognised the achievements of social enterprises and supporters in fourteen different categories, including Social Enterprise of the Year, Women’s Champion, ‘Buy Social’ Market builder and the One to Watch.

The Awards were hosted by musician, journalist and Church of England priest, Reverend Richard Coles.

This year iSE’s CEO Sarah Crawley was shortlisted for the Woman in Social Enterprise Award in recognition of excellence in her field of work. Sarah has been a pioneer developing social enterprise places through the Digbeth Social Enterprise Quarter and Birmingham Social Enterprise City and has championed women in social enterprise especially in some of the most deprived wards in Birmingham.

Sarah received Highly Commended, with congratulations going to Marie Marin, founding CEO of ‘Employers For Childcare’ who won the award.

But Sarah was thrilled to be awarded a SEUK Honorary Fellowship – an accolade that she likens to the ‘social enterprise Oscars’. She joins well-known figures such as Sophi Tranchell (Divine Chocolate), Clare Dove (Crown Representative for the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector) and Lord John Bird (The Big Issue) who have previously been awarded this title.

Congratulations, Sarah!

I’m not going to try and improve on the excellent coverage of the evening that Elizabeth Forrester at iSE provides over on the iSE blog — she was actually there and her first-hand account is the one to read.

Read more on the iSE blog.

You can see all the award winners here.

See a huge selection of photographs from the night courtesy of SEUK.

Women’s Enterprise Hub is recruiting — Receptionist, meeting and events assistant

iSE is delighted to announce that a vacancy has become available at the Women’s Enterprise Hub.

The Women’s Enterprise Hub, Sparkbrook is managed by iSE and has been supporting women in business and local women since November 2015.

The vacancy is for:

Women’s Enterprise Hub:
Receptionist, Meeting & Events Assistant

The Women’s Enterprise Hub is looking for an enthusiastic receptionist and events assistant to support the continued success of the Sparkbrook Women’s Enterprise Hub. Following a massive refurbishment, the Hub offers inspiring office units, co-working space, a place to meet, access learning, support to develop women led businesses and community activities.

We are keen to develop the Hub as a local facility for women led businesses and local women and we offer high quality spaces for organisations that provide services to local people.

The ideal candidate will:

» Help promote a positive message to the local community.

» Be enthusiastic and helpful and enjoy having a positive impact on the women who use the Hub.

» Be organised, have good interpersonal and administration skills and experience of customer care.

A career in the social enterprise sector is both challenging and rewarding. At iSE we are keen to work with individuals who want to develop their skills and create change.

To apply

Send email to Mariam Yate to discuss the role or download and complete the application form and submit this (by email or post — details at the end of the form) by Monday 9th December 12:00.

View Job Description

→ Download Application Form (MS Word)

Read more about the Women’s Enterprise Hub

Women’s Enterprise Hub — come to the Winter Fayre open day

iSE has just announced that the Women’s Enterprise Hub will be holding a Winter Fayre Open Day — details are below.


Date And Time

Wed, 18 December 2019
10:00 – 14:00 GMT

Women’s Enterprise Hub
249 A Ladypool Road
B12 8LF

Or for more information send mail to Shanaz at the Women’s Enterprise Hub

Social Enterprise World Forum — day four

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: 23rd – 25th October 2019

It’s day four for iSE’s chief exec Sarah Crawley and Citizen Coaching’s Martin Hogg who are both at the Social Enterprise World Forum. Sarah  has sent us another fascinating update…

*  *  *  *

Sarah writes…

Sarah Crawley — live news and views from SEWF 2019, Ethiopia

The conference has further picked up pace today with key themes such as social enterprise growth, social franchising, partnership working for growth and money (soft money i.e. grants and impact investing) being discussed.

It’s been fascinating, and hearing about social enterprises effectively addressing really large scale social and environmental issues has been particularly impressive. I have been hearing about businesses addressing period poverty by making and selling affordable sanitary towels as a franchise, toilets that reuse human waste as fertiliser, and the rental of solar lights to enable people to work and live at night without having to use kerosene.

I want to share with you an amazing debate between Ndidi Nwuneli (a woman who has scaled many social enterprises) and Harish Hande (a renewable energy social entrepreneur).

The topic was ‘small is beautiful or bigger is better’. The speakers came from contrasting perspectives. One took the view that when a social enterprise business gets to scale it becomes less democratic. Conversely, the other took the view that scale is beautiful and enables social businesses to have impact. One queried whether scale really means impact: surely poor people should be empowered to develop their own solutions rather than being ‘done to’.

Ndidi made some great points about scaling-up which I think can be helpful to social enterprises everywhere. Social businesses, she said, should:

» Be demand driven
» Engage with the community
» Measure their impact
» Be simple
» Have low costs

Opinions were mixed and when it came to a vote and the audience was split 50:50 — but it was a really great conversation.

Last day tomorrow…

View conference programme — Day 1

View conference programme — Day 2

View conference programme — Day 3

Over 200 speakers — see them all here

See all posts on this blog tagged ‘SEWF’



Sarah’s new notebook – from an Ethiopian social enterprise

Coffee from a social enterprise

Social Enterprise World Forum 2019 — day three

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: 23rd – 25th October 2019

It’s day three for iSE’s chief exec Sarah Crawley and Citizen Coaching’s Martin Hogg who are both at the Social Enterprise World Forum. Sarah  has sent us another fascinating update…

*  *  *  *

Sarah writes…

Sarah Crawley — live news and views from SEWF 2019, Ethiopia

The conference began properly today and the venue is Addis Ababa United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

The last two days have very much been focused on local social enterprise in Addis and surrounding areas, while today we truly went international with 70 countries and 1000 delegates. The week’s timetable is complex with an education symposium, a policy forum, a youth week aiming to increase youth participation in social enterprise (running simultaneously with the conference) and then the main programme. Clearly this has been complex to organise and the ambition is to be commended.

There is great excitement about social enterprise not only here in Ethiopia but across Africa. The themes discussed following the spectacular opening ceremony have been social enterprises tackling inequality, tech for good and global mapping and the importance of data.

The three women speakers describing their ‘tech’ social enterprises were really excellent. One has developed a system for delivery of affordable household goods and food for people in rural communities in Kenya who don’t have postal addresses, no internet, no delivery service – she called it M-Commerce. It uses a text system with collection points which enables people to order and receive goods and saves them money. So clever!

A topic that keeps emerging is social enterprise awareness which I feel continues to be the biggest barrier to the development of the sector. Without comprehensive understanding of what social enterprise is about and how it delivers social value social enterprises can’t achieve sales which is fundamental to their growth. There must be an opportunity with all of the networks now operating across the world to address this – as we do in Birmingham with City Drive. Imagine the impact we could have by working on this together!

SEWF venue: UN Economic Commission for Africa, Addis Ababa

Martin and Sarah in the main auditorium, SEWF

View conference programme — Day 1

View conference programme — Day 2

View conference programme — Day 3

Over 200 speakers — see them all here

See all posts on this blog tagged ‘SEWF’

Social Enterprise World Forum 2019 — day two

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: 23rd – 25th October 2019

It’s day two for iSE’s chief exec Sarah Crawley at the Social Enterprise World Forum and she has been good enough to send us another fascinating update…

*  *  *  *

Sarah writes…

Sarah Crawley — live news and views from SEWF 2019, Ethiopia

People are beginning to arrive at the conference from all over the world. It’s been heartwarming to see people from so many different backgrounds greet one another with hugs and witness their excitement at the opportunity to immerse themselves in social enterprise for the next three days.

My time in Ethiopia so far has been jam-packed with visits, tours, networking and learning.  Last night I was lucky enough to visit the British Embassy where I met the British Ambassador for Ethiopia with fellow Birmingham-based social entrepreneur Martin Hogg. We discussed Birmingham’s Social Enterprise City status and what that means for the social enterprise sector in the UK.

Rural visit1

From left: Martin Hogg, Dr Alastair McPhail CMG OBE, UK Ambassador to Ethiopia, and Sarah Crawley discuss Birmingham Social Enterprise City

Today began with an early start. Well it was supposed to be early – I was waiting for the minibus at the allotted time of 6.30am but we’re running slow here and we finally got away at 7am. I have been very excited about today’s visit to social enterprises located around Lake Cheleleka, Bishoftu – getting us out of Addis Ababa and providing us with the opportunity to get rural. The lake was beautiful and a bird watchers’ paradise!

Social enterprise is a relatively new concept over here but it sits well with individuals, communities and organisations. Trading is already embedded in local economies and there is now an understanding that trade can be used to address social and environmental issues too, moving away from the more commonly known NGO model.

A key theme of our visits so far is the importance placed on supporting women to be economically independent and providing care and education for children. The latter is hardly surprising as over 40% of the population are under the age of 15!

Our first visit of the day was to Jerusalem children and Community Development organisation (JeCCDO), a fascinating organisation providing integrated childcare support through simple but clever social enterprise income generation businesses based on the local market including a guest house, a Tuk Tuk delivery service, a bakery and more.

Rural visit2

Pictured above is a list of items including unwanted furniture, children’s play equipment and metals that JeCCDO target universities, corporates and individuals for –  the social enterprise then sells everything donated. If you look at the end column you’ll see they are making a good profit. Simple but clever!

What I found particularly interesting is how the organisation is working with communities in three states in Ethiopia, supporting them to access assets in the form of land and delivering services that really enhance the lives of families through education, access to cheaper food and information.

We had the opportunity to visit one of these community organisations which has seen immense growth over a relatively short space of time. Using a co-operative approach, the organisation began life with 1400 local residents all paying a fee to cover burial services. Eight years ago it was realised that they could deliver so much more and following land acquisition (a gift from the government) they now purchase grain when market price is low and sell it on to their ‘members’, they run their own school, feed and clothe children and support women to start businesses.

Our final visit was to a very large tourist attraction Kirifu Resort and Spa where profit is reinvested to support local children and provide a marketplace for women to sell their very beautiful crafts. One of these businesses, Damascene Essential Oils works with 350 female farmers to provide raw materials to manufacture high-quality pure essential oils and aromatherapy products.

The visits today really made me think. The social entrepreneurs are absolutely clear about why they are doing what they are doing and they are finding simple solutions to address difficult problems. They don’t use grants, they trade and they are ambitious. There is a lot that we can take back to the UK.

Rural visit3

One of the volunteers who has been accompanying us on our visits – they are extremely helpful and have their own interesting stories to tell

Best wishes to all,  Sarah

View conference programme — Day 2

View conference programme — Day 3

Over 200 speakers — see them all here

See iSE news for a slightly longer version of this post

Social Enterprise World Forum 2019 makes history — first SEWF to be held in a developing economy

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: 23rd – 25th October 2019

The Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) is the leading forum for international exchange and collaboration in social entrepreneurship and social investment. And this year, it is making history — SEWF enters its second decade and for the first time is being held in a developing economy. The annual event was first held in Edinburgh in 2008 and has since been held on six continents.

The success of the event in galvanising the global movement of social enterprise has helped make it the sector’s primary creative focus for sharing learning, ideas and good practice. This year the conference is hosted by the British Council. Holding it in Ethiopia provides a unique opportunity to create a truly global social enterprise movement that can share experience, build networks and deliver solutions for a more inclusive and sustainable future for all.

Sarah Crawley — live news and views from SEWF 2019, Ethiopia

And as in previous years, Sarah Crawley is on the spot, sending us live news and views of SEWF as it happens. Thank you, Sarah! She has just sent us the following…

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Hello everyone, I’m back at the social enterprise world forum being held this year in Ethiopia in the capital Addis Ababa and it really wouldn’t be a world forum if I didn’t share some of my experiences with you!

It’s amazing to be here. The daytime weather is lovely, with temperatures of up to 24 degrees but it’s much cooler at night. The altitude is high at 2400 feet — we are in the foothills of Mount Entoto which can give you interesting sensations (slightly giddy!) but which also helps keep the temperatures pleasant.

Addis Ababa is extremely busy, huge amounts of construction, new roads and very tall buildings combined with a crazy traffic system where I just can’t work out who has right of way but everyone seems to negotiate their way through trouble!

This year I decided that I wanted to join a couple of the study tours of social enterprises before the conference starts on Wednesday and today was Tour One.

The visits today covered two different women-focused social enterprises, both supporting disadvantaged women, some with HIV. First I went to Shega Crafts, which enables a network of women’s craft and producer co-operatives to link their traditional products with available markets. 

Then I went to Entoto Beth Artisans, a women’s craft enterprise creating custom jewellery from recycled materials. Located on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, the community on Entoto Mountain is around 5,000 people, about half of whom are affected by HIV/AIDS. The aim of both of these enterprises is to help women who are living with HIV/AIDS restore their lives and create economic and social opportunities and a regular income. 

And then I visited Selam Children’s Village, a fascinating organisation that provides community homes for orphaned children using social enterprise activity to generate 40% of the income that supports its care, education, youth training, economic empowerment and elderly care programmes.

All of these organisations are doing extraordinary work in the hardest of conditions, creating tremendous social value and building on cultural traditions to earn income from their social enterprise activities.

A personal highlight has been being part of a coffee ceremony, very important in Ethiopia and a real privilege for me. The photo below shows the coffee beans being roasted over charcoal, they are then ground, coffee is made and then poured from a great height we were able to sample its deliciousness. Coffee is a big deal here and I now know why.

What did I learn today? I learnt that without social enterprises people and children facing life-changing issues would have no chance to change their lives, learn new skills and have opportunities to be happy. I learnt that a developing country is a crazy mix of old and new with a city that includes the extremes of a rich culture, poverty, huge economic growth and traditional ways of doing things. I think this will be an unforgettable week.

Best wishes to all,  Sarah

Coffee beans being roasted by hand over a charcoal fire, Ethiopia

Addis Ababa — the view from Sarah’s hotel room

View conference programme — Day 1

View conference programme — Day 2

View conference programme — Day 3

Over 200 speakers — see them all here

See iSE news for a slightly longer version of this post

Birmingham Awards 2019 — finalists announced

The Birmingham Awards 2019, celebrating all that’s best in Brum — charities, social enterprises, small businesses, local media, restaurants, venues, retailers — take place this year at a prestigious awards dinner on Saturday 9th November at the Library of Birmingham. Finalists have just been announced in all categories.

Now this year is really quite special because there are no fewer than ten social enterprises amongst the finalists — John Taylor Hospice, Sport 4 Life, Change Kitchen, Creative Alliance, Evolve, iSE, Miss Macaroon, Project Aspie, Shelanu and Sociability Care CIC are all waiting to receive your votes.

Some of the city’s most deserving charities — such as Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice, Street Doctors, Let’s Feed Brum and the Sikh Women’s Action Network — are also amongst the finalists. 

We congratulate all of them and wish them the very best of luck. You can get busy showing your support by voting at the link below. 

You can vote here.

School for Social Entrepreneurs Midlands announces two forthcoming programmes — free to attend

Calling all environmental community activists & entrepreneurs

The School for Social Entrepreneurs is looking to support 15 leaders of community organisations with an environmental focus working specifically in the West Midlands and North England. The programme is funded by the Co-operative Foundation

It is aimed at early stage community-led, environmentally focused organisations looking to move from a start-up phase where they may be dependent on grant income but want to grow their impact and income from trading.
Applicants will need to be prepared to participate in a learning and development programme which will take place in various locations across the West Midlands and North of England.
Applications are open now and the deadline is 1:00PM on 31st October.
Or, for more information, send mail to Charles Rapson

‘Community Business Trade Up’ programme

The Community Business Trade Up Programme is run by the School for Social Entrepreneurs, in partnership with Power to Change and the National Lottery Community Fund, This is a free programme and comes with a Match Trading grant of up to £10,000.
Applicants must be leading organisations that are: 
  • Locally rooted – your organisation exists to benefit your local neighbourhood, village or town; your local area is at the heart of what you do
  • Accountable to the local community – you consult local people about what you do, and communicate with them
  • Trading for the benefit of the local community – you want to increase your income from trading by at least £10,000 in the next year, with profits re-invested to benefit your local community
  • Making a broad community impact – what you do engages different groups of people from your local area
The deadline for applications is 1:00PM on 27th November 2019.
 For more information send mail to Charles Rapson or join can join our online webinar – Monday 7th October 12:00 to 1:00PM.
@ssemidlands Twitter

John Taylor Hospice is a finalist in this year’s Social Enterprise Awards from SEUK

Finalists for the UK Social Enterprise Awards 2019 have just been announced, and Birmingham’s own John Taylor Hospice has been nominated in the ’employee engagement’ category.

The awards, hosted by national membership body SEUK recognise businesses that give back, enrich communities and make a contribution to society, as well as those who lead them – the social entrepreneurs who use their business acumen to help tackle social and environmental problems both in Britain and abroad.

The Awards recognise the achievements of social enterprises and supporters in fourteen different categories, including Social Enterprise of the Year, Women’s Champion, ‘Buy Social’ Market builder and the One to Watch.

John Taylor Hospice (which we have written about here on many occasions) was founded in 1910 and is one of the oldest non-denominational hospices in the UK. It was also the first ‘new mutual’ — or social enterprise — hospice, leaving the NHS in in 2011 under the Department of Health’s Right to Request process to operate as a new independent Community Interest Company (CIC).

The awards ceremony this year takes place on the 4th December at London’s iconic Guildhall.

Congratulations to everyone at JTH.

Read more on the JTH website

Read more about the Awards on the SEUK website

Full list of finalists

Puzzled by how to use LinkedIn to support your enterprise? Then the next DSEQ network meeting is for you

If using the professionals’ networking platform LinkedIn to help your social enterprise grow is all a bit of a mystery, then make sure you don’t miss the next Digbeth Social Enterprise Quarter networking session on Tuesday 8th October, 8.30am – 10.30am.

Whether you a long term resident, a newly arrived social enterprise or someone thinking of moving in to the area, come down, get some breakfast and let’s bring Digbeth closer together.

Communications and social media wizard Martin Hogg, CEO of Citizen Coaching, will be imparting his wisdom on the hidden tips and tricks of using Linkedin to grow your network and boost your social enterprise. Martin is a serial social entrepreneur and also helped establish Citizen Click, a social enterprise that specialises in supporting third sector organisations with digital media. Martin is a long-time DSEQ network member.

Martin Hogg, CEO of Citizen Coaching

If you are interested in attending the October networking meeting please send mail to Paul Barnes at iSE or call 0121 771 1411.

Meeting Details:
Date: Tuesday 8th October
Time: 8.30am – 10:30am
Location: Avoca Court, 23 Moseley Road, Digbeth, Birmingham, B12 0HJ