Social Enterprise Day @ iSE

I joined around fifty other guests at iSE today for a lunch to celebrate Social Enterprise Day. It was lovely to meet up with so many friends, old and new. The iSE team made sure that everything went smoothly.

The lunch — homemade soup, bread, fruit and some of the best homemade cake it has ever been my good fortune to sample — was excellent.

It’s good sometimes to remind ourselves that social enterprise is a growing movement and that there are a lot of us. And moreover, that there are lots of new faces and younger faces — the sector is attracting new blood and is more diverse than it was just a few years ago and that has to be a good thing.

There were events in various Birmingham locations and although I only went to one (frankly, more than one would have been a bit too much like work rather than the pleasant conversation, food and networking I had in mind) I am assured that the others were equally successful and enjoyable.

I must single out for special mention Sarah Crawley’s Squidgy Apple and Spice cake. It’s a secret recipe which has been in the Crawley family for generations. In fact, it’s so secret that the manual labourers who sometimes assist in the kitchen (such as Graham) are kept blinfolded. This seems harsh but the results are worth every sacrifice.

To all of the organisations that put on, hosted or organised events yesterday —  Social Enterprise West MidlandsCloudberry, Anthony Collins Solicitors, iSE, Concept Conference Centre — a big thank you is due.


  1. Chris Newis Reply

    I can echo Alun’s comments, this was a brilliant networking event. It confirmed that social enterprise matters and that ISE is passionate about supporting the development of social enterprise. I also want to congratulate Sarah on a fine piece in the Birmingham Post this morning, promoting social enterprise. Steve Walker was also featured elsewhere as ART has passed the £10 million lending mark. So all in all a good day for BSSEC.

  2. Simon Lee Reply


    I wholeheartedly echo your comments, especially about the apple cake – very tasty it was too!


  3. Charles Rapson Reply

    Sounds like Sarah’s cake is a social enterprise waiting to happen. I attended a session with BitC this week where we heard from the folk behind SPAR. A F Blakemore. They run a not for profit division called Heart Distribution. It’s run by the grandaughter of the companies founder. The point of the division is to support the small food produces to get distribution (and sales) for their produce. Anything from small farms and food processing firms to people making jams, pickles, cake, etc on their kitchen table. If there is anyone out there who makes stuff that could be sold through SPAR stores (and others that they distribute too) then its well worth a look. Really nice and genuine folk.

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