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…

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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…

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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

iSE announces workshops promoting supplier opportunities in the built environment marketplace

iSE announces the following…

Tim Landreth (ISE) has been beavering away at finding opportunities for you to work on some of the major projects and with some of the major clients in the region.

To support you accessing these opportunities, ISE is holding a series of workshops to help you with finding work, tendering, capability and capacity building, proving social value and general business planning. Tim is arranging for some interested potential clients to come and tell you more about their requirements and how you can best do business with them.

The workshops will be very interactive and offer you the chance to think in a supportive group of ways to develop your business.

Please don’t think “I am not a builder, this isn’t for me” construction clients want to buy all sorts of services and products and to add Social Value into their supply chain at all stages whether it’s training, office supplies, cleaning, digital arts, or bricklaying!

The sessions will run from 6.00pm until 8.00pm on 10th, 17th and 23rd October 2019 at the Women’s Enterprise Hub, Ladypool Road, Birmingham, B12 8LF.

Spaces are limited so please register your interest as soon as possible (and not later than 4th October) by emailing Tim Landreth. Tim will then send you some “homework” to do before the workshops!

Major opportunities update

HS2 — we are working with the procurement and social value team to understand the wide array of opportunities for Social Enterprises. We are also working on a shopping list of services and products which we are looking to match businesses with.

Commonwealth Games — while the games are on for a period of three weeks in 2022, this won’t stop you getting work between now and then. The athletes’ village is well under way and Social Value is very high on the agenda of the contractors involved in the scheme. Opportunities are being shared on the FindItinBirmingham portal.

What can you do?

  • Understand your capacity and plan for the future — we are looking to match SEs with opportunities for a number of contractors.
  • Prepare information to support your bids, be clear on your capabilities and your added Social Value.
  • Think about current and potential clients. What works well? What can you repeat? What am I missing?.
  • Please think of specific areas where you need support and ISE will look for ways of helping.

West Midlands public sector organisations join forces for social value event for the VCSE sectors

West Midlands Combined Authority, Birmingham City Council, Solihull Metropolitan Council, Walsall Metropolitan Council and the Social Value Portal invite social enterprises and voluntary and community organisations in the region to join them at an event aimed at promoting a better understanding of Social Value and its role in the procurement process.
The event is about Social Value in the public procurement process and has been organised in order to enable public sector organisations in the West Midlands to connect more effectively with the VCSE sector.
By attending you will:
  • Learn more about how Social Value is being used in public procurement across the West Midlands.
  • Learn more about how best to present and describe your ‘social value offer’.
  • Find out how you can work with suppliers and contractors who want to increase Community Engagement within their supply-chains or amongst their beneficiaries.
  • Meet commissioners and procurement professionals from local authorities/organisations and find out more about current and forthcoming Social Value procurement opportunities in the West Midlands.


The event is free and takes place on:
Monday 7th October 2019 from 09:30 – 13:00 BST.
Location: Solihull Council House, Council House, Manor Square, Solihull, Birmingham B91 3QB

Good Finance Live! is coming to the Midlands

Good Finance LIVE! hosted by iSE and Good Finance in collaboration with Big Society Capital and Access Foundation is coming to the Midlands. 

This free event will take place at BVSC on Tuesday 29th October 2019 from 10.00am until 3.00pm. It is aimed at social enterprises, charities and voluntary and community organisations who are actively looking for investment. This could be via community shares, an unsecured loan to develop your business or cashflow a contract, or a secured loan (mortgage-like) debt to buy a building. 

16 investors are already confirmed for the marketplace. There will be talks and sessions happening throughout the day. You’ll hear directly from social enterprises about their experience of taking on social investment and will also be able to learn more about the support offered by the Reach Fund and the Community Shares Booster Programme

If you are a #charity #SocEnt #CommunityBiz looking for repayable finance to help fund new plans or grow your enterprise, then don’t miss #GoodFinanceLive in Birmingham and the chance to meet social investors who are ready to discuss your plans.

Sign up for the event here.

Download the event programme.

The 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.

This programme helps the leaders of community businesses in England. It focuses on growing income from trading, to improve impact and sustainability. It offers:

  • A learning programme: 12 days spread over nine months.
  • A Match Trading grant of up to £10,000.
  • A community of people running organisations like yours.


There is no cost to participants at any point.

In 2020, the programme will help a further 80 community businesses and will open for applications in autumn 2019.

Read more about the programme.

Register your interest (you’ll then receive an email reminder).

John Taylor Hospice is holding an open evening for people interested in becoming volunteers

Volunteers are an essential part of the team at John Taylor Hospice (JTH), helping in the hospice itself, in its shops, in fundraising and with services like driving and wellbeing.

JTH is looking to boost its current numbers of volunteers and is hosting a Volunteers Open Evening so that those with an interest in supporting JTH’s work can meet staff, volunteers and families who use the hospice’s services. If you’d like to find out more about what is entailed in hospice volunteering, pop along. All are welcome and you don’t need to book.

The Open Evening takes places as follows:

Volunteer Open Evening
Thursday 19th September — drop-in between 6-8pm
John Taylor Hospice, 76 Grange Road, Erdington B24 0DF

Founded in 1910, JTH 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.

More about the event on the JTH website
Read more posts here about JTH

Staff at John Taylor Hospice

Healthwatch Birmingham is recruiting

Are you passionate about helping Birmingham citizens by tackling inequality in the health and social care system?

There are currently a number of opportunities to join Healthwatch Birmingham’s team and the commencement of the organisation’s new contract, along with major continuing changes in the health and social care system, make this an exciting and important time to be part of Healthwatch Birmingham’s work.

There is one staff vacancy:

Marketing and Communications Manager
£26,999 – £30,507 per annum
35 Hours per week
Based at Cobalt Square, 83 Hagley Road, Birmingham. B16 8QG
Closing date: Friday 6th September (10am)

 More information and how to apply.

The organisation is also seeking new (voluntary position) Non-Executive Directors.

Non-Executive Director
Remuneration: Expenses Only (Voluntary Position)
Average Term: 3 Years
Closing date: Friday 6th September (10am)

More information and how to apply.

Free LinkedIn workshop with Citizen Click at The Women’s Enterprise Hub 17/09/19 — open to all

The Women’s Enterprise Hub is offering a free mixed workshop on how to use LinkedIn effectively as a tool in your business.

Please note that booking is essential — send mail to Ashleigh Howe or ring 0121 663 1711. The workshop will be delivered by social enterprise Citizen Click. Details below.

UnLtd’s Thrive accelerator programme, ‘Solutions for an Ageing Society’, now open for applications

UnLtd has just announced that Thrive, its new social accelerator programme designed to help ambitious social ventures to grow, has re-opened for applications.

The ‘Solutions for an Ageing Society’ (SfAS) Accelerator is looking for eight game-changing social businesses who want to grow nationally and contribute to significantly improving the quality of life for the over 50s.

Specifically, UnLtd is looking for social entrepreneurs who are delivering solutions that improve outcomes around:

  • Quality of Life.
  • Wellbeing.
  • Loneliness.
  • Independence.
  • Support for Dementia/Alzheimer’s.


Successful applicants will work with a dedicated, highly skilled Venture Manager and will receive 1-to-1 tailored support, access to a specialised network, first class social impact measurement support and the opportunity to take on up to £50K of investment (debt or equity). You’ll be assessed on performance to date, potential for growth and profitability. In return you’ll have the opportunity to scale both your organisation and impact rapidly.

If you have been typically operating for 2 – 6 years and have a clear social mission and demonstrable social impact UnLtd wants to hear from you.

Register your interest before the end of September 2019.

Click to read about 2018 SfAS winners so far in 2019

Co-operatives WM announces study visit to Robert Owen museum, Powys

Co-operatives WM has just announced that its Member Education Group is organising a study visit to the Robert Owen museum, Powys.

There will be an introductory talk at the museum about Robert Owen and his links to Newtown, a detailed view of the museum, followed by a guided walk around Robert Owen sites in Newtown; plus free time in the museum. Afterwards there will be lunch at a cafe in Newtown.

Reformer, socialist, co-operator: Robert Owen 1771 – 1858

Organised by the West Midlands Cooperatives Member Education Group.

For more information and bookings.

Read about a previous study trip by Phil Beardmore, secretary, Co-operatives WM.

Robert Owen Museum, The Cross, Broad St
Newtown SY16 2BB
Sat 14th September 2019
11:30am – 1:00pm

Breakfast briefing — social enterprise applications to the Queen’s Enterprise Award for Sustainable Development

8.30am – 10.00am on Thursday 15th August
Avoca Court, 23 Moseley Road, Digbeth
Birmingham B12 0HJ

iSE has just announced that it will host a breakfast briefing to support social enterprises seeking to apply to the Queen’s Enterprise Award for Sustainable Development.

Chief executive Sarah Crawley says that social enterprise still has a quiet voice in the wider business community. Therefore, as part of iSE’s work to boost recognition of the sector, eligible social enterprises are being encouraged to make an application to the Queen’s Enterprise Award for Sustainable Development. The closing date is the 10th September 2019.

This will also support our collective efforts Birmingham Social Enterprise City.

To support organisations that want to make an application iSE is holding a breakfast briefing on 15th August from 8.30 am until 10am. Amongst the guest participants will be BELU Water’s chief executive Karen Lynch, who made a successful application last year and will share her experience of the process.

The Queen’s Enterprise Award is an opportunity to promote the valuable contribution that your social enterprise makes to the sustainable development of Birmingham. Successful applicants are invited to a royal reception, where the award — a crystal trophy and a Grant of Appointment (an official certificate) — is presented by one of the Queen’s Lord-Lieutenants. Award-holders are permitted to fly the Queen’s Award Flag at their offices and use its emblem on marketing materials.


To apply for the Queen’s Award for Enterprise your enterprise must:

  • Be based in the UK (including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man).
  • File your Company Tax Returns with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) with two years of completed accounts.
  • Be a self-contained enterprise that markets its own products or services and is under its own management.
  • Have at least 2 full-time UK employees or part-time equivalents.
  • Demonstrate strong corporate social responsibility.
  • Show how you have achieved outstanding sustainable development for more than 2 years.
  • Provide evidence of the benefits or positive outcomes of your actions or interventions


Join iSE from 8.30am – 10.00am on Thursday 15th August. Breakfast will be available!

To book your place email Paul Barnes or Sarah Crawley.

Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development — blog and news.

Birmingham Social Enterprise City — survey prize draw winners

When we began the first city-wide baseline survey of social enterprise in Birmingham, as part of building a more robust evidence-base for Social Enterprise City plans, we promised a free prize draw, with an Apple iPad as the first prize, and a second prize of a backpack from social enterprise  Madlug, which for every bag purchased donates another to a child in care.

We’re delighted to announce that the prize draw has taken place and we have two very deserving winners — both social enterprises founded by women, led by women, and which specialise in working with vulnerable women.

The winner of the first prize, an Apple iPad, is Jane Strand, the founder of Wild Oyster CIC, which began trading just three years ago. The enterprise works with women and organisations and employability support, advice and guidance, health and wellbeing, mentoring, tenancy support, supported housing for women, as well as a range of social impact consultancy services.

The winner of the second prize, a Madlug bag, is Marcia Lewinson, the founder and CEO of WAITS — Women Acting in Today’s Society. Marcia has been involved with WAITS since its inception in 1992. WAITS provides critical services for women who need help and support in order to make positive changes in their lives.

Congratulations to both of them.

We would also like to thank all the social enterprises that made time to complete the survey thus helping to significantly improve the evidence-base for the sector’s social and economic contribution.

Read the survey findings.

Facts and figures — profiles of the the social enterprise sector; Birmingham; Digbeth; and the Greater Birmingham area.

Jane Strand, founder of Wild Oyster CIC, winner of the 1st prize

Marcia Lewinson, CEO of WAITS, winner of the 2nd prize

Social Enterprise Mark CIC announces new entry-level accreditation scheme for younger and new-start social enterprises

Social Enterprise Mark CIC, the organisation behind the nationally recognised Social Enterprise mark accreditation scheme has just announced the launch of a new accreditation for new-start and young or emerging social enterprises.

Called the Aspiring Social Enterprise accreditation, the company says that this new Mark has been “developed specifically to support aspiring social enterprises to get started on the pathway to social enterprise excellence”. It is aimed at businesses that may only recently have become incorporated, that have not necessarily started trading or have just begun to, or that may have been operating for some time but have been grant dependent, reliant on loans or investment income.

Social Enterprise Mark CIC says that to qualify for the new accreditation enterprises should meet the following criteria:

  • Be primarily dedicated to social objectives.
  • Be an independent business.
  • Be planning to become sustainable through trading income.
  • Commit to dedicating a majority of any annual profit to social purposes.
  • Have a vision of how its social objectives will be achieved.


Social Enterprise Mark CIC says: “Through this new entry-level accreditation, younger and new-start social enterprises can access tailored support to achieve sector-agreed standards of good practice and excellence in social enterprise, represented by the Social Enterprise Mark and Social Enterprise Gold Mark.”

The new accreditation scheme carries an annual fee of £150.00 + VAT.

Find out more about the Social Enterprise Mark and its new Aspiring Social Enterprise accreditation.

Register your interest in achieving the Aspiring Social Enterprise accreditation. UPDATE 29th July 2019: The Social Enterprise Mark has kindly offered a 10% discount on the first year’s licence fee to BSSEC’s readers/followers/network. I suggest you enter “10% discount offer” after your name when registering.