Third Sector Review + a Breakthrough in social investment

Spent yesterday at the Treasury / Cabinet Office Third Sector consultation (focusing on social enterprise) as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review. All off-record, but thought I would just mention that Ed Miliband (who attended the London SSE Fellowship ceremony last Thursday) quoted Becky Barrett, one of the new Fellows, as an example of those individuals driving change, repeating her immortal words, “I realised frozen potato waffles weren’t going to change the world”. Nuff said, methinks. [more on the ceremony soon]

The consultation was interesting, if (inevitably) too brief, slightly restrictive and too short (again!) of practitioners. And, yes, I know I was only making that worse, but hopefully I was representing our myriad of Fellows as well as SSE itself. As ever with such things, fine and welcome words were heard: the proof will be in the eating….

Another event tonight, the launch of CAN‘s new Breakthrough investment fund, in association with leading international private equity firm Permira. The Telegraph has a write-up, which is worth a read, and the event features that man Ed Miliband again, the chief execs of Permira and CAN + the journalist David Aaronovitch….should be interesting. Amongst the first three organisations to benefit from the new investment/venture philanthropy initiative are Green Works and, intriguingly, TimeBank, the volunteering charity that government helped establish.

Replicas exactas Golden GooseI say intriguingly because the latter choice shows that Permira and CAN are using a broad definition of social enterprise, which is to be welcomed. Time Bank is a charity primarily funded by government, trusts and foundations and corporate sponsors/partners, so will not be some people’s idea of social enterprise; but it may also be taking risks, acting entrepreneurially, grasping opportunities, developing new initiatives and so on, meaning it has a place in the wider world of social entrepreneurship.

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The Hot 25: new social entrepreneurs joining the SSE Fellowship

As blogged previously, tomorrow (Thursday) and Friday see 25 new SSE Fellows graduating their programmes in London and the East Midlands. Here’s the press release:


The Hot List: social entrepreneurs blazing a trail this

On Thursday July 20th, 25 social entrepreneurs
will graduate from the School for Social Entrepreneurs in London and the East
Midlands, all of whom run projects and organisations that are meeting unmet
social needs in innovative ways.

The graduations will celebrate the success and achievements
of these true changemakers. It will give them deserved recognition, and also
give an insight into how such individuals are changing the way we view the old
divide between private business and social welfare.

Those graduating include:

Sheenagh Day
, who has established Maison Bengal, a fair trade company
selling housewares and gift items from Bangladesh;

Charlotte Benstead
, who runs In-Spire, a community centre for learning and
the arts based in Walworth, South London;

Dave Pitchford
, who is setting up the first independent online
information and advice service for individual donors giving to charity.

The London event will be hosted by writer and broadcaster
Simon Fanshawe, and feature a keynote speech from Ed Miliband, Minister for the
Third Sector.

Miliband MP
“Today’s graduate social entrepreneurs are truly inspiring individuals
whose extraordinary initiative and driving social conscience demonstrate
just what the social enterprise movement is capable of achieving.

School for Social Entrepreneurs is in the vanguard of training a new generation of social
entrepreneurs, and must be congratulated on its success in
promoting better understanding of social enterprise and
embedding the desire to tackle injustice through community

Alastair Wilson, Chief Executive
of the School for Social Entrepreneurs
says: “Social entrepreneurs are
the ones making change in their communities and fields of work, challenging the
status quo, and solving the problems they find. They all deserve our
congratulation and continuing support.”


to Editors:

  1. The London graduation will take place at the Amnesty Human Rights Action Centre, EC2A 3EA, between 1pm and 5pm. The East Midlands graduation is at Chase Community Centre, a social enterprise in Nottingham, from 10.30am-2.30pm
  1. Twenty-five students will be entering the SSE Fellowship today; fourteen after graduating from the London School’s Ready Steady Grow programme, and a further eleven from the East Midlands SSE’s programme.
  1. For further information and interviews with social entrepreneurs contact: SSE on 020 8981 0300 or office [at]

4.  The SSE was founded by serial
social entrepreneur Michael Young, who also established the Open University and
the Consumers’ Association. It provides support to individuals who are acting
entrepreneurially for social benefit, rather than personal profit. There are
now over 250 Fellows who have completed
the programme since 1998. See
for more


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There’s a couple of acronyms to get our teeth into on a Friday afternoon: ones for the acronym-buster in due course.

– DUELISEF stands for Duke University Enterprising Leadership Incubator Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship. Oh yes. Brought to my attention by fellow blogger Audeamus who covers similar ground, but with more of an international leaning. Anyway, there’s an article from one of the ELI (as they shorten it) Fellows called a Discourse on Social Entrepreneurship which makes decent reading.

– CSR is more widely-known, of course, as corporate social responsibility (sometimes shortened to CR or changed completely to Corporate Community Investment…CCI). Thinking about it today because Business in the Community have announced their 2006 Awards for Excellence (in a teacherly manner, the winning companies get a Big Tick).

Marks and Spencers were the overall winners with SSE friends Happy Computers winning Small Company of the year, which is well deserved. See the full list here, which is, encouragingly, extraordinarily long!

I’ll be helping to judge the ‘Innovation’ award of CAF’s CCI awards in the next few months, which should be equally encouraging and inspiring, and bring many more examples to our attention….

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Aston thriller

Have spent an interesting day here in Aston, meeting the various students who have started the programme whilst letting them know about the SSE Learning Web of online resources (extranet, blogs etc.). You can see the cohort here  (profiles to be updated) and the kind of areas they are working in.

We’re delighted to have a working presence up here in the heart of the West Midlands, so full kudos to Peter Bishop who has worked tirelessly to make it happen…underpinned by support from SSE Fellow Calvin Young. And another SSE Fellow, Inderjit Sahota, is involved as a tutor.

All goes to show the importance of people as the engine of replication, and the value of the interlinked network of Fellows and students and staff and schools as it continues to expand.

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Unclaimed assets: social investment bank

Seeing as every bit of research there has been puts forward funding as the major barrier for social entrepreneurs achieving what they might, new funding streams are always welcome. So the news that £400 million of unclaimed assets in UK bank accounts are possibly to be used to form a "social investment bank” to help finance
charitable and voluntary projects by "providing seed capital and loan
guarantees". At least that will be the recommendation today of The Commission on Unclaimed Assets…
[read the FT and Guardian take]

It’s not been fully clarified exactly what the fund’s main objectives are, though Ronald Cohen has chaired the commission (of Bridges Community Ventures, who we’ve mentioned a couple of times recently), and reports say it has been based on the US-based Local Initiative Support Corporation, which provides financial advice and funds to community groups and charities, and has invested over $6 billion in the last 25 years.

Incidentally, the £400 million figure is only for accounts that have been dormant for 15 years. The actual amount in unclaimed assets could be in the billions….

UPDATE: piece in Society Guardian by Matthew Pike on this….which talks excitingly of what the UK Social Investment Bank might do:

"Using unclaimed assets funds, the proposed SIB would capitalise and
co-ordinate the efforts of new and existing providers of funding,
finance and support to the sector – covering the full range of needs,
from grants to loans, lease financing, quasi-equity and equity. But it
would also act in the manner of a private investment bank, able to
package and guarantee investment opportunities for private capital as

And there’s a website,, where you can respond to the consultation paper (pdf)

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