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Faster than a cannonball: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

How quickly can I write a newsletter? Today I’m going to find out. I’ve got a million and one other things that I should have done by now so this week’s edition is all about speed. It’s the Usain Bolt of newsletters, the Ferrari of email bulletins, the…well, you get the picture. I’m not messing around..

Time for a coffee break.

Enjoy this week’s news…



You spoke, we listened

Turns out that for a lot of people, Bethnal Green isn’t as convenient as London Bridge so we’ve moved the location of our Fellows event on September 26th. It will now take place from 6.30pm – 8.30pm at our offices on Tooley Street. This does mean that the capacity is slightly reduced, so book quickly is you want to come along for an informal evening of drinks, canapes and networking with other SSE Fellows and social entrepreneurs. (We’ll be running other events outside of London soon).

Book a spot here

Speculate to accumulate

Tonight’s Euromillions jackpot is £143 million but I’m afraid there is no point you entering because I’ve already planned how I’m going to spend my winnings. (I’ll give everyone who read this newsletter £100.) But fear not, because you could be in with a chance to win a share of $1 million through the Chivas Venture prize.

I know it’s easy to think ‘I’ve got no chance, they’ll never pick me’ but SSE Fellow Cemal Ezel picked up the main award previously so why not give it a go? Entries need to be in by 31st October.

Find out more here

Keep it to yourself

“Let’s all finish up early and go for a drink”. “The meeting has been cancelled”. “Looks like tomorrow will be a snow day”. Three of the greatest sentences that can be uttered in an office. But none are quite as powerful as “do you want to know a secret?”. Everyone loves a good office secret. Just that opening gambit opens up a whole world of speculation and excitement. So it’s quite something that the good people of Good Finance will be broadcasting their own ‘secrets to preparing for the due diligence process’ live on the internet during a webinar on 26th September.

It’s free to take part, you can sign up here

Bear necessities

A nice piece of press coverage for SSE Fellow Kathy King, whose social enterprise Wild Wonder and Wisdom offers ‘Bear Grylls style adventure for young women facing anxiety, depression and isolation’. They’ve just completed a six week programme for six 14 -16 year olds who learned to kayak, SUP, light fires and cook over a campfire in a supportive and all female environment.

You can read about it here

Contender, ready…. Facilitators, ready

Social enterprise, Wellbeing Enterprises CIC, are currently looking for freelance facilitators, social enterprises and voluntary organisations to work with to co-deliver fun, exciting and educational social prescribing courses across the Liverpool City Region. It doesn’t matter what your skill, background or interest is, they want to hear from you. They hope to give people the chance to discover new skills and passions, so get in touch if you can help. Good facilitator rates are available. Contact Caitlin Laws on 0151 237 2670 or via email at

Find out more here 

Stir it up

The New Economy Programme have launched ‘Stir to Action’, a series of workshops taking place in  Plymouth, Bradford, Newcastle, Bristol, London, and Dorset from October 2019 to July 2020. There’s a whole range of topics on offer, from ‘Building Spaces for Community Inclusion’ to ‘Building a Powerful Brand Identity’ or ‘Movement Building Canvas’.

Funded places are available from a range of funding organisations

To boldly go

A useful opportunity for social enterprises in Scotland: ethical brand specialists BOLD are offering five social enterprises the chance to win high quality investment in their brand. They want to hear from organisations that ‘can demonstrate that they are approaching a point of change or would benefit significantly from a top level branding exercise.’

Enter by 7th October

Up with the larks

The next Social Founders Forum takes place in London on Tuesday 1st October at EY London (just round the corner from us). It’s an early affair, kicking off at 8.30am and will cover ‘founder brand and communications’ – how social founders can harness the positive brand story of being a founder, and balance this with the brand of their organisation to win-win effect. Sarah Corbett of Craftivist Collective and Dr Hany El-Banna OBE of Islamic Relief are the headline acts.

Book a space here

Help a Fellow out

Two SSE Fellows have campaigns running at the moment that could do with your support:

Caroline Stephens’ organisation Footprints and Life Works, based in Dorset, has made it through to the last 15 charities for a potential grant of £50,000. The grant will to allow them to hire a workshop and staff to grow their delivery of training for ex-offenders and work experience opportunities in the community. If you follow this link and hit ‘show your support‘ you’ll help them on their way – it literally takes 10 seconds.

Meanwhile, Suzanne Noble is crowdfunding for her social enterprise Advantages of Age, which aims to build an online hub for the over 50s in the UK and provide the resources needed to start their own business. It’s a really interesting campaign, you can read more about it and back it here.

Social life

Finally, if you know a charity CEO (or trustee, leader, or rising star) who is a dab hand at social media or other areas of digital then now is the time to nominate them for this year’s Social CEO awards. There are eight categories to enter, voting closes on 27th September.

Nominate here

And now, the news: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

A bit of a panic earlier this week. I didn’t really have anything to put in this newsletter. What’s the first thing you do to when you find yourself in such a situation – scour the internet looking for relevant articles? Put out a call to your colleagues for items to be included?

Nope. The correct answer is that you waste some time Googling ‘has there ever been no news?’. It sounds a ludicrous question (the best ones often are) but it turns out there has indeed been a day with no news: 18th April 1930. The BBC news announcer simply said ‘there is no news’ and then they filled the rest of the time with piano music. It sounds like bliss.

Fortunately, some good stuff has come in. We can leave the piano music for another week.



Take an accountant

A bold campaign from BECO (owned by social enterprise Clarity and a sister company to The Soap Co): Steal Our Staff aims to reduce the disability employment gap by giving companies the opportunity to hire some of Beco’s staff (thus creating opportunity for them to hire additional people with disabilities). Great campaign, great branding, great website.

It’s well worth checking out

Waste not want not

This week has been Zero Waste Week, designed to ‘help individuals, businesses, organisations, schools, universities and community groups reduce landfill waste, save money and preserve resources’. Pebble Magazine have put together a handy list of 50 brands that will help you go plastic free. Good to see some alternatives to those awful paper straws that go soggy as soon as liquid touches them.

See the list here

Every little helps

If you want to go one step further than reading a list online the Ethical Consumer Conference 2019 is taking place in London on 25th October. It looks to be an impressive line up of speakers; they be tackling how ‘consumers, businesses and campaigners can work together to help tackle climate change and environmental breakdown’.

Check it out here

Bag for life

A cracking crowdfunding campaign from SSE Scotland Fellow Hazel Smith and her organisation ReTweed. Hazel is raising money for ‘Bordersbags’, tote bags made from discarded textiles made by participants on ReTweed’s business incubator. For every bag purchased, ReTweed will donate one to a local foodbank so they can cut down on plastic bag use. It’s a triple whammy of environmental, enterprise and social impact work all rolled into one.

You can buy a bag here 

Power Rangers

Power to Change are opening the next round of their Community Business Fund next Wednesday, offering grants of £50,000 – £300,000 to community businesses that want to progress towards sell-sufficiency. If this all sounds like a very good idea to you, they are hosting a webinar on Thursday 12 September from 14:00-15:00 where you can find out more.

All the details are here

Beat you to it

If you were planning on sending me an email to ask me if I know when the next Cambridge Social Ventures Social Venture Weekend at the Cambridge Judge Business School is, there’s no need. It’s on the 8th – 10th November. It’s £75, and comes highly recommended. The weekend is for anyone running a business dedicated to making social impact, whether it’s a fully-fledged business or still just a bright idea.

Further info here

Booster seat

Over in Bristol, SSE Dartington have launched the Bristol Business Booster 2019, a three day course across November that will help socially responsible businesses focus on key foundation elements. There are 22 free places available to individuals operating within Bristol and the West of England.

Deadline to apply is 14th October

All the fun of the fair

Our friends at Impact Hub Kings Cross are hosting a social enterprise funding fair on September 12th at 224-226 Tower Bridge Road, London. The event takes place between 5.30pm and 9pm and features funders such as Seedrs, Mustard Seed and Crowdfunder. Each attendee will be given the opportunity to meet with up to three investors.

Best of all, Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You readers can get in for free – use the code SSEMember2019 when you make your booking.

Which you can do here

To infinity, and beyond

The Firstport LaunchMe programme sounds like something you’d expect to find at Cape Canaveral but it is in fact a social enterprise accelerator in Scotland. It has fairly broad criteria: start ups with a scaleable idea, social enterprises looking to develop a new product or service and community groups looking to develop a product or asset that can generate income.

There is loads of support on offer, including £10,000 seed funding, one to one and group based business support and professional expertise.

Apply by 21st October

Porcine affairs

If anyone can tell me why ‘Ham’ is in South West London but ‘West Ham’ is in East London and is actually east of Ham then I’d be keen to know. Add ‘Newham’ into the mix and you’ve got enough ham for a picnic.

If you are based in Newham you should take a look at the Newham Business Awards, open to all organisations based in Newham, or organisations who have completed substantial business in Newham. They are particularly keen for more applications to the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, open to those aged under 30.

Get your applications in by 13th September 

Oh ah Leicestaaaaaah

A couple of bits from Voluntary Action Leicestershire. Short notice, but on Monday they are running their annual conference for the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector in Leicester. It’s free to attend, you can book a place here.

Then on 16th September they are running a free financial planning workshop for organisations that need support to develop their financial resilience – the workshop ‘will improve your financial skills and knowledge which will help your business to be more successful in the market’. Book a place here.

Featuring the word ‘kumquat’ for the first time: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

According to people who know these things, the average native English speaker has a vocabulary of between 20,000 and 30,000 words. Most of these are useless, of course. Everyone knows the word ‘kumquat’ but have you ever heard anyone actually use it in a sentence? No-one has ever been sent to the shop to pick up a loaf of bread, twenty B+H and three kumquats.

Excitingly, we all have a new word to use: ‘prorogue’. Of course, we’re all pretending that we’ve known what it means for years (no doubt learned at the same time as our deep understanding of the unwritten constitution) but be honest, you know a lot more about kumquats than you do prorogation. I got all excited when I first heard it: “Dave, it’s your turn to take the bins out” said my wife on Wednesday evening. “I’m proroguing the bins this week” was my response. In my mind, I was going to be walking around proroguing everything: meetings, trips to the supermarket, rounds at the bar. It was going to be fantastic (my wife seemed less enthusiastic).

Turns out you can only prorogue sessions of parliament or legislative assemblies. So now I’m stuck here with my kumquats taking the bins out and still going to meetings. Life can be so cruel.

On with the news…


Sing for your supper

What’s the first thing that comes into your head if I say ‘Covent Garden’ to you? Opera? Buskers? The Transport Museum?

Well, that could all be about to change – SSE and partners are currently exploring creating a retail and experiential learning space in the area. At this very early scoping stage we’re looking for social businesses with retail products or catering services to take a short survey to help us understand the types of business that could fill the space.

If your social enterprise has a product that you sell or a catering offering that could take advantage of this opportunity, we would love to hear from you. Complete the survey by Friday 20th September and we’ll pop you into a draw to win a £50 John Lewis voucher.

The survey should only take about five minutes

The only source of knowledge is experience

SSE Fellow Rhiannon Griffiths of Comic Youth has put together a great blog post about the importance of leaders of organisations in the third sector having lived experience of the issues they are seeking to solve: “I found it extremely frustrating to see people in power continuously make decisions without the first-hand knowledge or experience to do so”. A sentiment that could be extended far beyond the boundaries of the third sector…

Read the blog here

Socks and sandals

Way back in 1928 or whenever it was that I started working at SSE I turned up to work on my first day wearing a suit and people laughed at me. I often wonder how things would have turned out if I hadn’t made that mistake. I’d probably be CEO of some massive charity and have a knighthood by now, instead of churning out this nonsense each week. How was I to know that the dress code was in fact ‘clothes you’d usually throw on if you needed to go and get something from the shop quickly at 7am but you hadn’t had a shower yet’?

Fortunately, these mistakes don’t need to be made by others moving into the social impact sector. Our friends at On Purpose, _SocialStarters* and Year Here are hosting ‘How To Transition Into A Social Impact Career, on 19th September in Islington. It’s ‘an evening of lightning talks, inspiration and the chance to meet likeminded professionals over drinks and nibbles’.

Book your place here

*SocialStarters are also currently recruiting an incubator programme manager – if you’ve run start-up or career change programmes before you can find out more here.

Thurrock and roll

You’re based in Thurrock and you’ve got an idea for a project that helps other people or the environment. How do you get it up and running?

You come along to a taster session for our Thurrock Social Entrepreneurship Programme, that’s how. We’ve go sessions taking place on the 6th and 9th September from 10:00-15:00 – you’ll learn all about the programme (which starts in October) and how it can help you get a social enterprise, charity or business that helps people off the ground.

You can find out more here

Have I Got ‘Social Enterprise News Fer Tha

It’s all systems go at SSE Yorkshire and North East:

They are running an online Start Up Boost course, starting on 11th September. It’s open to anyone and will give you support prioritising and business planning for a successful social enterprise. There are only two places left, book a spot here.

It’s the last couple of weeks to apply for the M&S Community Business Challenge in Bradford. The school are hosting an information session on Wednesday, September 4 from 11am to 1pm at Carlisle Business Centre. You can help and support with your application for the £10k grant fund and tailored business support. Book your place here.

On October 10th, join SSE Yorkshire and North East for ‘Big Futures’, an event in York celebrating change-makers from across the region. £29 gets you dinner, drinks, networking and speaker sessions. Get a ticket here.

If you’re happy and you know it…

You may well be on the Independent’s Happy List, an annual celebration of ‘people whose kindness, bravery and dedication make the UK a better place’. I’ve spotted a number of SSE Fellows: Chris Fleet, Emma Baines, Declan Flynn, Jude Habib and Jane Hatton – congratulations to you all.

You can see the full list here

Meaningful vote

Let’s keep those awards for SSE Fellows coming- Vie Portland of VieNess Discover You Love You CIC has been nominated in Hampshire’s VIP Business Awards 2019, celebrating local Hampshire businesses. She’s up for both The Feel Good Award and The Future Minds Award.

If you can spare 30 seconds, you can voter for her here

Back to school

A great looking job opportunity with Impacted, co-founded by speaker at SSE Owen Carter. They are looking for a Head of School Partnerships (£38k – £47k), leading on their school-facing strategy and developing a team to deliver on it. ImpactEd’s mission is to improve pupil outcomes and life chances by addressing the evaluation deficit. The job is based in London and would suit someone with a deep understanding of the UK school system.

Apply here by 9th September

When stars align

If you’re looking at your diary and thinking ‘what I could really do with is a Working with Corporates type workshop at SSE London on 12th September’ then guess what? We have a Working with Corporates workshop, in London, on the 12th September. Remarkable. Come and find out all you need to know about how your charity or social enterprise can work with the private sector, from what type of support you can get, who you need to speak to and how to maintain a good working relationship.

Book a place here

Fail to plan, plan to fail

If you’re like me, you tend to leave everything until the last minute. Life tends to be more exciting that way – why have a to do list when you can have a list of things that you should really have done three days ago but haven’t got round to but will do eventually? Still, let’s try and do one thing differently today. I know it’s weeks away, but if you could book onto our next Fellows event in Bethnal Green on September 26th right now it would be appreciated. It will save some meetings.

It will be a fun event and it’s free for SSE Fellows (although there is a refundable £10 deposit). All others are welcome too, as long as you promise not to wreck the joint (and stump up 10 quid).

It only takes a minute so why not do it now

Gear shift

SSE Fellow Jem Stein is looking for a digitally savvy marketing manager (£38k, London) to supercharge his organisation The Bike Project’s marketing as they enter the next phase of growth. If you have proven experience in being able to plan, deliver and manage others to create and roll out activity across all digital channel you should take a look.

Deadline to apply is 9th September

That is lit

Finally, SSE Fellow Frances Weetman is in the process of setting up ‘Lit’, a social enterprise and website that aims to encourage young voter turnout, while finding the solutions to problems like climate change, inequality and the housing market. She is keen to produce some articles and videos about topics that will interest young people and which will impact their day-to-day living. If your social enterprise has direct experience working in any of the following areas and you’d like to be featured then please contact Frances:

Healthcare / the NHS; Drug addiction / drug policy; Homelessness and the housing market (including rentals and first time buyers); The environment and climate change; Refugees & problems regarding immigration; Prison overcrowding & rehabilitation; Human rights, both in the UK and abroad; Knife crime (particularly in London); Education; Austerity.

You can contact Frances at

Home again home again jiggety jig: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

Right, I’m back after a couple of excellent weeks in the States. I wouldn’t say that I was hugely refreshed; it turns out that children and jet lag go together like toothpaste and orange juice. I was so tired earlier this week that I had a very bizarre dream that Donald Trump had tried to buy Greenland. Can you imagine how confusing that was?

But your not here for my idle chit chat, you’re here for the news. So here’s two week’s worth.

Enjoy the bank holiday weekend.


(p.s – I’ve been allowed to get involved with the organising of this year’s SSE Christmas party. Any tips for fun places to go in London will be gratefully received…and yes I know it’s August.)

Whit’s fur ye’ll no go past ye

A quartet of award news to start this week…

First up, a huge round of applause to Tracey Muirhead, CEO of SSE Scotland, who has been nominated as a finalist in the Social Leader of the Year category of the Scottish Women’s Awards. Tracey is amazing and if the organisers are reading this you should definitely give the award to her.

Read more here

The Hundred

Next, nominations have just opened for the third annual NatWest WISE100, a listing of leading UK women driving social impact. There are six categories to enter, with the WISE100 Women’s Champion being a non-gender specific award.

Find out more here

Foundation for success

SSE Fellow Lynne Barton is a finalist in the Persimmon Homes Building Futures awards and needs your votes. Her organisation Entrust Care Partnership provides a range of much needed services to support disabled children and their families. If successful, they’ll use the award to raise funds for a place of their own to deliver services.

Take two minutes and vote for Entrust here

All caps

And finally in the awards section of the newsletter, Shoreditch hipsters Unltd have partnered with caps lock fans The PRECIOUS Awards, the leading awards programme for women of colour in the UK. They’ve created a new awards category to recognise and support women who are driving lasting social change – The PRECIOUS Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award will give the winner £15,000 to support their social venture to grow.

You can find out more here


It’s all just atoms anyway

What’s your Friday night tipple? A pint of lager? A glass of wine? Well, here’s something new for you to try – vodka made from grain grown in Chernobyl. It’s a good story; a group of scientists from the UK and the Ukraine have formed a social enterprise called The Chernobyl Spirit Company and hope to sell the vodka (which they’ve named Atomik) to support the local community’s economic and social development.

In America they now sell Bud Light Lemon Ice Tea – surely nuclear vodka is preferable to that.

The bar is this way

Local news for local people

Calling all Southwark social entrepreneurs: Southwark Council has established the Southwark Pioneers Fund to provide access to finance, workspace, networks and business support. To continue this support, the council are now applying to a new £33m Local Access Programme. As part of the application, they are carrying out a survey to uncover your organisation’s activities, plans and aspirations.

They are looking for as many responses as possible so if you are based in the borough and can spare 15 minutes you’ve got until 31st August to take part.

Which you can do here

Money for old rope?

A good piece of work from Time to Spare claiming that 46% of grants cost more than they are worth. While they readily admit that their figures are estimates it makes for an interesting read.

Check it out here

A shaggy dog story

SSE Fellow Marie Yates has today released ‘Luna’s Woodland Adventure’, the first book in a new series encouraging and developing a growth mindset in children aged five-six years old. The idea came to Marie while she was sitting in a witness session during SSE Bristol’s Start Up Programme several years ago. The book looks an excellent gift for a son / daughter / niece / nephew etc etc…

Order a copy here

Shop til you drop

Sticking with shopping, former Third Sector Digital Leaders participant Lucy Willoughby has launched Good Things. It’s a new website selling ethical, fairtrade and sustainable gifts for children from around the world, including toy boats made from discarded plastic bottles and fairly made eco-friendly cotton animals. She’s obviously doing something right as she’s just won this year’s Fast Track to Growth programme in Devon.

Check out the site here

Step on the gas

Our friends at Spring Impact are piloting a new, issues-led version of Scale Accelerator, a tailored programme that helps mission-driven organisations to scale their impact and change more lives. They are looking for six charities and social enterprises to join a six month programme starting in January 2020. If your organisation works with people who face multiple complex needs (such as homelessness and substance abuse) then subsidised places on the programme are available.

Find out more

Jobs jobs jobs

The good people at The Funding Network, based in London, are looking for a Communications and Membership Coordinator (£24k + benefits). If you’ve got a flair for creative content, a collaborative attitude and a keen interest in the social impact sector, apply here by Wednesday 11th September.

We’ve extended the deadline on our Marketing and Engagement Officer role (£32,061 – £33,023) to Friday 6th September. I mean, what were we thinking trying to recruit while everyone is on holiday. It’s a fun job – you can find all the details you need here.

A jolly good get together

Finally, for SSE Fellows – we’ve got two networking events for you to take part in during September. On Tuesday 10th, Unltd Scotland and SSE Scotland will be hosting a joint event giving you the opportunity to expand your networks and make some great new connections. It’s free to take part, register here.

In London, we’re running a networking event with the theme ‘Boundaries and Burnout: Managing your wellbeing to increase your impact as a social entrepreneur’ on September 26th in Bethnal Green. At the moment, the room is going to be somewhat empty so if you are planning on attending go ahead and book your ticket now so I can stop worrying about it. Book your spot here.

Yeeeeeeeeehaw! Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

G’day mate.

Yep, you guessed it this week’s edition comes from the east coast of the USA. Cape Cod in fact. Apparently there have been 150 sightings of great white sharks off the beach here since June – you can see them here. So going for a swim is not on the agenda for the time being.

Because I’m away, it does mean that this newsletter will be on a brief hiatus for a couple of weeks. I know, I know. I’ll miss you too.

Back on 23rd August, have a great couple of weeks.


It’s not the destination it’s the journey

National Lottery Community Fund have a new web page providing a whole load of tools and resources to help you measure your organisation’s impact. There’s some useful stuff there – they aim to provide ‘the assistance you need to help you navigate all stages of your data and evidence journey’. What a journey that will be.

Find out more

Dubai or not Dubai

Dubai will be hosting Expo 2020 Dubai next year and as part of it the Expo Live Innovation Impact Grant Programme is offering grants of up to $100,000 (yeah, I deal in dollars these days) to social enterprises, startups and grassroots projects from around the world.

Alongside the grant you’ll receive international exposure and business and partnership opportunities, apparently. I think you may also get a place at the Expo.

Find out more here

All aboard

A great piece of coverage for SSE Scotland Fellow Jordan Butler and his social enterprise Heavy Sound, which uses an out-of-service single decker bus as a mobile community centre offering support, advice and music-making activities to disadvantaged communities. Jordan bought the bus for a quid, throwing shade at all those people who say you don’t get much for a pound these days.

Read more here

Help is at hand

_SocialStarters have partnered with Pernod Ricard UK to bring together 15 of their senior leaders across marketing & comms, sales, operations, HR, financial management and legal to support 15 social enterprises over 9 months to help them grow. You could get a dedicated business specialist who will be all yours for 2-3 hours a month to fight fires as well as put together essential growth & operational plans.

The Impact Mentoring Programme includes a kick off session by _SocialStarters, a 1 day Troubleshooter event in November where a team of employees work on your business challenge, plus additional support to ensure your objectives for the next year are met.

Apply by 12th August


Some fairly substantial funding news – the Bright Ideas Trust has opened its latest funding round to support ‘new community business ideas through the start-up and planning stages with tailored business support, to the implementation stage with grants of up to £15,000’.

Applications are open until 30th September

Heal the world

SSE Dartington are running a free 3 day Climate Action for the Social Economy programme for business leaders in Bristol who want to respond to the climate emergency. The course takes place over 5th, 12th, and 19th September. If you are a social entrepreneur, business owner, project managers HR managers, sustainability
lead or green champion in Bristol or the west of England please check it out.

Apply by 17th August