Having seeded the idea from hosting the social enterprise meet ups over the summer, this event was truly designed from a bottom up approach from one social entrepreneur to another. It aimed to give nascent social entrepreneurs the essential knowledge, contacts and networking opportunities to start and excel in their social mission and enterprise, which I am very pleased to say it was successfully executed.
We were proud to have been able to bring together an impressive mix of high calibre speakers, social entrepreneurs and industry experts to work with us.
Here were some of the key highlights of the day:
1. Robert Ashton, the barefoot entrepreneur, who opened the session with 10 inspirational quotes, No. 1 “You must be the change want to see in the world”. If you don’t care deeply about what you’re building and why you’re building it, it’s unlikely you’ll have the energy to see it through to the end. Being barefoot, happens to be a great analogy to illustrate authenticity, knowing yourself and your values are important to your success.
2. The co-presentation delivered by Alison Freeman, NEF Consulting and Jeremy Hime at Creative Homes was a much welcomed talk to illustrate the key consulting & practitioners relationship they had in measuring impact. Freeman, reminded us what social value is and that output does not necessary mean outcomes. Hime voiced how it is important to understand what impact you want to measure, be creative and keep asking questions until you get it right.
3. CAF Slide overview slide helped position the social investment panelist, include representatives from UnLtd, Big Issue Invest, Venturesome, ClearlySo, Triodos Bank, The Community Share Company and Buzzbank, it provided clarity of what funding is available and what social entrepreneurs needs to consider, this included how much involvement vs impact investment you will need and want.
4. Many attendees joined the interactive luncheon sessions where ideas were shared on the social impact in education, health and social services, international development and the environment and climate change. One of the common threads that came form these discussions was how technology is changing the nature now how we communicate and operate, such as open source, crowd source and social media.
5. After lunch, Charlotte Borger, Communication Director at Divine Chocolate explained the secret to their Chocolate mission, it is to take the customer on a journey. Customers engage with brands and not products. Borger’s strategy went from an ethical company that sells chocolate to a delicious chocolate brand from an ethical company.
6. This was followed by Zoe Amar, from Zoe Amar Communications who stressed the importance of Social Media in creating personal brand, promoting business, delivering right message to the audience. She illustrated that you don’t need a big budget to start and many company’s failed to incorporate thier social media strategy as part of their business plan which is a mistake.
7. Lucy Findlay delivered transparency about using the Social Enterprise Mark.
8. Iain Tackett, from Coin Street and Allaister Heron from Colne Housing engaged the audience by sharing their tips and advise with businesses collaborating with social enterprises. Its important to be clear from the out set, what are you planning to achieve. How you can turn “they” and “us” into “we”? Not all partnerships will work out, what’s important is to manage the relationships and so that both parties can reap the benefits.
9. Our closing presentation was from Paula Woodman, the British Council’s senior advisor on social enterprise, she used the The Big Bang to illustrate how new models on social enterprise are evolving globally. So far their work has spread to 24 countries since 2009. Woodman, stressed the social enterprises has a lot to offer especially when we are thinking about Sustainable Development Goals (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org).
10. Conversations were in full flow over breaks and luncheon, the drinks reception provided the last of opportunities to meet with each other before the day came to a close.
Participants, who stayed for the evening worksops hosted by Peoples’s Republic’s and Bidright UK’s took away further valuable learnings.
We are very grateful to all the speakers, partners and participants who got involved and support the event. This is the beginning of a journey to further connect, inspire and support many social entrepreneurs in enabling social, environmental and economic benefits that we want to see in the world.
Please keep posted for the next event by following me @thefourthsector