SOCIAL ECONOMY DRIVE 2023: Does it Make a Difference?
18th November 2023
Firstly, yes it does!
But why, or how, has Social Economy Drive 2023 made a difference?
An incredible week, and a first for the West Midlands, the social economy has been front and centre across the 7 localities that make up the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) area: Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton. For the previous decade, this has been a Birmingham-focused series of events superbly organised by iSE CIC. To enable SED2023, supporters Power to Change and WMCA brought together lead Regional Partners to ensure that there was a localised approach to the region ambition of growing the social economy.
In a week of fabulous networking, workshops, meet ups, conferences, charters and marketplaces, BSSEC CIC hosted a strategic roundtable as part of our eco-systems work in partnership with Barrow Cadbury Trust. Let’s go with an easy discussion topic we thought, SOCIETIES PROBLEMS NEED SOLUTIONS – THE SOCIAL ECONOMY IS THE SOLUTION! With positive disruptor insights from our facilitator Sarah Beaumont and expert speakers Martin Holcombe (Birmingham Settlement) and Beccy Crosby, (The Active Wellbeing Society) we enjoyed a lively, inclusive conversation around the room.
Amplifying our VCSE sector voices was a key theme that came through strongly along with a unique perspective of how the circular economy underpins the social economy approach. Vibrancy is one thing but the direct discussion of ‘what can we do at the pointed-end of delivery and community need’ was a clear ask across the board (or around the table!) that will be fed back and incorporated in our sector-led, WMCA supported, The Social Economy FORUM events
‘Inspiring, energising, thought-provoking’ was the feedback from the room
Onto the SED2023 flagship event on Social Enterprise Day and a highly energising VCSE MEET THE BUYER hosted by Department for Transport. Over 130 people in the room listened to key speakers included Andy Street, Claire Dove and Jo Wilkes and important updates on procurement initiatives such as the National Highways showcasing their DYNAMIC PURCHASING SYSTEM that enables VCSE’s in the supply chain… 10 delivery categories, 2 simple application forms!
There was a packed room of public sector commissioners, 1st tier supply chain and VCSE providers – all keen to have real conversations about real contracts. Take Telent Technology Services – they were on the table next to us and are a leading innovator in the area of digital infrastructure solutions. Maybe not much collaboration opportunity – oh well that’s Meet The Buyer and networking events for you, hey ho – wrong! Talking to their Responsible Procurement & Sustainability Manager, Rhys, they are super keen to #BuySocial and genuinely engage more VCSE organisations into their supply chain. Here’s the short form to REGISTER AS A SUPPLIER.
This is what Meet The Buyer events are all about 🙂
Are we ‘in the room’? YES we are – BSSEC CIC is proud to be a social enterprise that’s helping grow the regional social economy.
Our own thanks to Regional Partners: iSE CIC | Coventry & Warwickshire CDA | Provision House Dudley | Sandwell Council of Voluntary Organisations | Warwickshire & Solihull Community & Voluntary Action | One Walsall | Access 2 Business