WEST MIDLANDS COMBINED AUTHORITY: Social Economy Growth
Since 2019, BSSEC CIC has been working evermore closely with West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and other sector partners on the West Midlands Social Economy Task Force, worked in the Social Economy Business Planning Consortium which developed the West Midlands Social Economy Framework. Currently, we are active partners in the social economy virtual group of partners seeking to implement the new social economy growth framework.
We are especially interested in place-based social economy development, social procurement across the public sector and effective business support which can support business growth.
In July 2023, BSSEC CIC announced a new sector-led, ‘bottom up’ knowledge network, The Social Economy FORUM, supported by West Midlands Combined Authority and facilitated by BSSEC CIC. The Social Economy FORUM is a knowledge exchange network for and to, directly benefit social economy organisations.
Through The Social Economy FORUM discussion themes which are sector-led, we explore a diverse range of ‘enterprise and economy essentials’ such as business growth opportunities in the region, access to procurement sites, social trading platforms, consortium building, partnership working, social finance and investment, mergers and acquisitions, and developing your growth plans. A panel of experts lead with insights followed by an open discussion and problem solving. Session reports are fed directly back to WMCA to inform the West Midlands social economy growth strategy, input to social economy action plans and understand the direct impact for social businesses across the region. The legacy piece will be a WMCA Forum for VCSE’s across the region.
The capacity-building elements include: Knowledge transfer | Peer support | Access to experts
The planned impact will be: Support for social economy growth | Connections and opportunities | Networking opportunities | Access to sector information
Diverse and inclusive, The Social Economy FORUM is open to B2B or B2C social businesses, community businesses, co-operatives, employee-owned businesses, minority ethnic-led businesses, charities, social enterprises and CIC’s, faith-based organisations, social enterprise or social economy organisations, and enterprises with clear social and/or environmental purpose within the West Midlands Combined Authority localities of Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton.
The Social Economy FORUM series 2023:
FORUM 1: Finding and accessing new market opportunities | Tuesday 26th September 2023, 2.30pm – 4.15pm, online
FORUM 2: Accessing public and private sector contracts through procurement | Tuesday 24th October 2023, 1.30pm – 3.00pm, online
FORUM 3: Partnership working | Tuesday 12th December 2023, 11.00am to 12.30pm, in-person Birmingham
FORUM 4: Accessing social finance and investment | Tuesday 9th January 2024, 11.00am to 1.00pm, in-person
FORUM 5: Is your organisation ready for business including mergers and acquisitions | Tuesday 6th February 2024, 11.00am to 1.00pm
FORUM 6: Developing your growth plan | Tuesday 12th March 2024, 11.00am to 1.00pm