We are delighted to publish our fifth Annual Report since incorporating as a Community Interest Company in 2012 – although it is now seventeen years since BSSEC was first established.
It continues to be very difficult for new-start social enterprises to access free specialist business support and partly as a consequence of this, we are continuing to see small-scale, grassroots ‘DIY’ start-ups in increasing numbers. Availability of the relatively cheap to use Community Interest Company legal structure is also encouraging this.
While this new spirit of independence is to be welcomed, many of these grassroots start-ups are very small indeed and for some survival will be uncertain, as will the ability to build a sufficient customer-base, especially in the early years. There also continues to be a growing appetite in the sector for more informal, peer-to-peer approaches to support, as evidenced by the growing local networks, such as the Digbeth Social Enterprise Quarter and the North Birmingham Social Enterprise Network.