The UK marketplace presents opportunities that are open to exploitation by social enterprises through trading for a social purpose, and with these opportunities there is also the challenge of competing alongside commercial enterprises in the selling of products and the delivery of services.
More recently opportunities for the social enterprise sector have broadened as Central Government, Local Authorities and the wider public sector look to social enterprises for new ways to address social challenges, deliver social value and achieve greater economic return. An example of this is The University of Northampton’s £1bn University Challenge, designed to ensure that Higher Education procurement strategies include opportunities for social enterprise service delivery – an initiative that will provide social enterprises with high value, long term contracts, ultimately leading to greater levels of sector investment, sustainability and growth.
Increasingly the private sector is also recognising the benefits associated with social enterprise, with many organisations looking to influence or make social change. This includes investment in social enterprises as a means of contributing or ‘giving back’ to society, thereby deriving a demonstrable social as well as a financial return on corporate investment.
To meet future challenges and capitalise upon the opportunities, social enterprises, like any other enterprise, need to be able to respond to the needs of the market. Therefore the ability to access affordable, qualified, practical support, particularly during the key phases of enterprise start-up and growth, becomes more critical and essential.
The Inspire2Enterprise Service
Inspire2Enterprise offers that crucial support with a free-to-access service designed for the UK’s social enterprise sector. Our centralised service is predominantly telephone-based and provides information, advice, coaching and mentoring both to individuals thinking of starting-up a social enterprise and to established social enterprises. In addition it provides resource support by way of graduate placement, and subsidised specialist qualified support including: legal, financial, investment readiness and procurement, training workshops and research. Our service is complemented by face-to-face support provided by an evolving network of regional service delivery partners.
To meet the needs of the UK’s social enterprise sector our service has three fundamental objectives:
1. Providing a national information, advice and specialist support service including mentoring, coaching and training with a focus on sustainability, growth and social impact
2. Working with key decisions makers, commissioners, stakeholders, other delivery organisations and corporate sponsors who are seeking to deliver outsourced services or social change
3. Developing products, services and partnerships that are solution-driven to support enterprise development and success and to facilitate strategic market breakthroughs
So whether you are thinking of setting up a Social Enterprise or are already running a Social Enterprise that you would like to take to the next stage then please do contact us.
Malcolm Williamson, Head of Enterprise Services, explains more…..