Looking on in horror: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

I’ve seen it all this week: incompetent leadership. No apparent vision. A complete lack of strategy. Colleagues squabbling and spending their time stabbing each other in the back rather than working together towards a united goal.

I’m writing (of course) about the ongoing drama of Brexit, which is now beginning to resemble one of the more far fetched plot lines from an episode of Eastenders. People keep talking about a divided country but I think we can all agree on one thing: we’re governed by a group of grown up toddlers. What a wonderful mess we’re in.

So this week’s news should be a bit of light relief. There won’t be a newsletter next week because I’ll be at Centreparcs standing in a swimming pool surrounded by screaming children. Woo!


Time is of the essence

The early-bird discount for our fantastic Social Replication and Scaling course expires soon (31st Jan) so don’t hang about if you’d like to book a place. Obviously I’m going to tell you that it’s a brilliant course and you should definitely come along, but it is a brilliant course and you should definitely come along. I will personally refund you* if you book a place and leave disappointed. (*By telling our finance department to issue a refund. I won’t actually pay for it myself).

You can see a course schedule and book your place here.

It could be you

The first ever Be The Change awards are open for nominations until 31st January. The awards will recognise independent, ethical & sustainable brands  having a positive impact on communities, people and the planet. There are thirteen categories to take part in and the awards will be presented at Ethical Brands For Fashion Revolution event in London. It’s free to enter.

Enter here

Every day is a learning day

We don’t just sit here all week at SSE writing newsletters you know. Well, I do, but a few of the people in the office do occasionally break out of having meetings and do some work. For example, we’ve added a whole host of new articles to the resources section of our website. The new additions include pieces on starting a social enterprise in ten steps, accounting, finding a mentor and developing a brand.

Gain important knowledge here


Bethnal Green Ventures have opened applications to their Tech for Good accelerator programme. This year the programme is focused on a number of themes: health, sustainability, education, civic engagement, tech to support young people, and workertech. If you have an innovative idea that uses technology to address challenges in one of those impact areas they want to hear from you. Applications are open until 18th February and if you’re successful you’ll get a whole load of support from them.

Apply here

Policy announcement

Attendees at SEUK’s The Future of Business Summit got a rare treat this week; an actual coherent policy announcement from the Labour party. MP Rebecca Long Bailey revealed that “Social enterprises will be “at the heart” of Labour’s economic policy”. I wasn’t there so can’t confirm that her next words were “but our first priority is obtaining a general election and then of course all other options will remain on the table”.

Read more here

Everyone likes drinks and canapes

Resurgo Ventures are launching their second social impact accelerator, a 12 week programme offering bespoke training, mentorship and a free space to work from. To celebrate the launch they are hosting an event a 1 Broadgate Circle near Liverpool Street between 6.30pm and 8.30pm on 5th February. Drinks and canapes will be provided, which sounds an excellent idea.

Book a free place here

Time to be social

Miss Macaroon are running Social Enterprise Tuesday every week, giving aspiring entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs the chance to ask questions about Miss Macaroon do, how they manage and it can relate it to any challenges they are facing. Questions can be asked through direct messaging on Twitter @iammissmacaroon, emailing [email protected] or ask by using the hashtag #SocEntQandA. They will respond to questions every with a video every Tuesday on their Twitter page.

Quick question

Here’s a question you don’t get asked very often: would you like to mentor a Haringey early stage social entrepreneur?

We’re looking for mentors for pre-start social entrepreneurs in Haringey London, for our Future Communities programme supported by Linklaters. Students on the programme are Haringey residents who are looking to create new social enterprises in their community. We’re ideally looking for fellows of SSE and social entrepreneurs who are able to offer 3 mentoring sessions between March and May 2019. There will be an information session and training on 4 March in London.

If you’re interested, please contact [email protected] to express an interest and for further details.

Tramping on

The Trampery are recruiting for the Spring cohort of Trampery Pathways, a three month support programme for creative entrepreneurs. Based in London’s Old Street, the programme is a curated mix of Peer Challenge Groups, workshops on business planning, motivations, pitching and wellbeing, and access to expert support from programme partners. It’s free to take part, but you must be based within, have an operational address (such as a co-working space), or contribute to the economy of Greater London to be eligible.

Apply by 14th February here

Money don’t make the world go round

But it certainly makes things easier. Registered charities or CIOs can apply to Lloyds Bank Foundation for a grant of a minimum of £30,000 to a maximum of £100,000, delivered across three years. You can apply for either a core costs grant or a project costs grant, you just need to make sure that you apply by 8th February.

Which you can do here

Au revoir, Bethan

A few jobs if, like our communications assistant Bethan (who leaves SSE today), you decide it’s time to move on to pastures new:

Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Oxford is hiring a new Programme Manager for Social Ventures (£32,236 – £39,609) to support the development and accelerate the impact of entrepreneurial ventures with a social and environmental purpose in Oxford. Apply here by 4th February and if you get the job I highly recommend The Punter pub on Osney Island for a post work drink.

SSE Fellow Nicky Forsythe is looking for an Operations Executive (£24k) for her organisation Talk for Health, a small, fast-paced, innovative mental health social enterprise based in London. The successful applicant will play a key role in supporting the CEO and Operations Manager in running services and the organisation. Find out more and apply here.

SSE Fellow Jem Stein is looking for an Operations Manager (£26k) to to set up, establish and manage service delivery for The Bike Project in the West Midlands. The Bike Project collect donations of second-hand bikes, fix them together at their workshop, and then donate them to asylum seeking refugees. Apply by 4th February here.

Read all about it

A nice bit of coverage for SSE Fellow Ali Millican and her social enterprise Nurture Parents, which aims to empower and enable all parents to develop their resources and confidence to fully embrace and enjoy parenthood.

Read the article here

In da club

Social entrepreneurs in Sussex should take a look at The Good Business Club, a new membership network for social enterprises in the region. It hopes to continue some of the work that was carried out by The Platform, which sadly closed last year.

Find out more here

Let’s do lunch

Finally, congratulations to SSE Fellow Caroline Morgan and her social enterprise Local Food Links, named a South West Area Finalist in the Federation for Small Businesses’ Scale Up Awards. Local Food Links is an independent caterer and a not-for-profit social enterprise that supplies 3,700 meals a day to 50 schools in Dorset, Somerset and Devon – they predict that they’ll serve a staggering 1,534,000 meals in the 2018-19 academic year!

Find out more on their website

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It goes on and on and on: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

Last week’s newsletter was a bit of a grind to write if I’m honest, there wasn’t a huge amount going. Although that’s probably not surprising for the first week after Christmas, it didn’t really count as a work week did it? This week’s is slightly different, I’m almost drowning in good stuff to share with you. I’ve mentioned before that someone once unsubscribed from receiving this newsletter because it contained ‘too much news’; I think this edition would have pushed them further over the edge.

Keep sending things my way and I’ll do my best to include it in a future edition.

Have a good weekend – I’ll be at Wembley watching Spurs smash Man United.


Hello Fellows

SSE Fellows – you should have received an email yesterday inviting you to the first event in the SSE Fellowship Series, a brand new programme orologi replica of events for SSE Fellows. However, the list of emails I used may well have been a bit out of date (it started at 1997…). If you didn’t get an invitation reply to this email and let me know and I’ll forward an invite on.

If you did receive the email – don’t hang around too long if you want to come along because tickets are going pretty quickly.

Bank job

Santander Foundation are accepting applications to their Discovery Grants, offering up to £5000 to UK registered charities, Community Interest Companies and credit unions with at least one year’s accounts. It’s a slightly unorthodox application process, you need to fill in a form in at a branch of Santander and then put it in a special post box in the branch. I guess it makes a nice change from filling in a form online.

Find out more here

They may take away our lives, but they’ll never take our grants

If I was Scottish (I’m not, despite the surname) I would find it slightly irritating that so many pots of money are available to organisations based in England only. So I’d be delighted to hear about Firstport’s Build It awards, only available to social entrepreneurs north of Hadrian’s Wall. It looks great; if your organisation is less than two year’s old you can apply can apply for up to £20,000 to fund your own salary so that you can concentrate on your enterprise full time. The first deadline this year is 21st March.

Find out more here

Let’s all have a cèilidh

It’s a veritable feast of Caledonian news this week. SSE Fellow Lynne McNicol is celebrating the first birthday of her organisation Re:Craft Glasgow this weekend and is hosting a party to celebrate. Re:Craft is an arts and crafts materials reuse and recycling shop – they’ll be offering 10% off all stock and having a few glasses of bubbly too. Make your way to Argyle Street tomorrow if you’d like to go along.

Details here

Diverse ambitions

Social Investment Business have just launched Diverse Ambitions, a programme of support and fund referral scheme for BAME charities and social enterprises in the Greater London area. Consultancy support, an interactive workshop and an organisation ‘health-check’ are some of the business boosts on offer for 20 successful applicants.

You can find out more here

Be the change

That’s the SSE wifi password, if you’re ever in the building. Anyway, this was in last week but if you’re anything like me last week was very much a readjustment period after Christmas and you weren’t really paying attention. We’ve opened applications to the Community Business Trade Up Programme, a support support programme for community businesses and other community-focused social ventures delivered in partnership with Power to Change. We’re looking for 80 organisations across England to take part.

Apply here

BaSE in the place London

It’s a good week if you like support programmes. Law firm Hogan Lovells have opened applications to HL BaSE Training, an opportunity for social enterprises to workshop a key legal issue that they are facing with a team of Hogan Lovells’ trainees and junior lawyers. The workshop takes place in London on 27th March, and you need to submit an application form.

Which you can do here

More support than you can shake a stick at

Guess what, here’s details of another support programme. Unltd have opened applications for the next cohort of their Thrive Access to Employment accelerator programme. It’s aimed at social ventures using business solutions to offer the most innovative ideas to improve access to employment for people distant from the labour market anywhere in the UK. Each successful social venture will receive six months of intensive 1:1 bespoke business support alongside additional pro-bono support from a number of partners.

Expressions of interest need to be in by 14th Feb

Food, glorious food

Last but not least in the support programme section of the newsletter, Impact Hub Kings Cross have  opened applications to Feeding in the City 2019, a free 12-month nationwide incubation programme open to groups passionate about creating sustainable food-related businesses that benefit communities.

They are also running ideation workshops across the UK for those who want to start something but who may need help with their ideas

Deadline to apply is 27th January, which you can do here.

Cooking up a storm

Sticking with the food theme, this month SSE Fellow Amy Win is running a series of events in Manchester for aspiring food entrepreneurs. Local food business owners will be sharing their ‘Recipe for Success’ (nicely done) and share their experiences of starting a food business in the city. It looks an interesting programme.

Find out more and book tickets here

Country Life

Grants of up to £50,000 are available from The Prince’s Countryside Fund for projects affecting areas of greatest need in rural England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The grants are open to charities, social enterprises and CICs and applications close on the 21st February at 4pm.

More details here

Looking for a new job? Work for an SSE Fellow:

Lucy Ferguson is looking for an office manager for her social enterprise Mediorite, a film agency selling film and photography services and delivering free training and work experience to young Londoners. The job pays £25k – 28k full time and the deadline is 8th Feb. Details here.

The best things in life are free

I can’t remember how I stumbled across this but an organisation called In Kind Direct are offering a whole load of surplus products to charities, social enterprises and not-for-profit organisations. There is a real cornucopia of stuff available, from over-stocked toiletries to last season’s fashions to branded cleaning products from an expired campaign to unbranded toys. I might put in for the 500 pack of Star Wars biros.

Check it out 

Over and out

Finally, do you want 100+ links to free charity grant funding finders, pro bono and goods & services?

Here you go

What’s on at SSE:

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1/52: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

Happy new year to you! Isn’t 2019 shaping up to be a cracker? We’re only four days in and already we’ve had people being angry about vegan sausage rolls that no-one is forcing them to eat, shipping companies with no ships being lined up to save us from armageddon and a 3.1% increase in rail fares to make it even more expensive to go to work. Where your boss could well have earned more this week than you will do in a year. Woohoo!

Fortunately the world of social enterprise is a far more refined and positive environment so this newsletter should provide a more optimistic view of the world. For those of you who have recently subscribed, feel free to send any news my way for inclusion and I’ll do my best to include it in a future edition. Any news from outside of London is most welcome (and indeed encouraged).

Enjoy this week’s news…



If a three day week is too much for you and you are already exhausted and thinking about booking a holiday (you are, aren’t you?) or if you simply want to look at some pictures of places that aren’t work (who wouldn’t?) then take a look at Bouteco. The site lists hotels that are ‘defined by their responsible practices and positive contributions to the planet’. They certainly look better than Travelodge. (Worth noting at his point: you can take eight days of annual leave this year at Easter for sixteen consecutive days off work).

Check them out here

Ready, steady, oh?

A good piece by David Floyd looking at the huge challenges faced by social enterprises  that want to scale. It’s a provocative post and the outlook isn’t wholly positive: ‘based on the current funding and investment landscape, scaling up a consumer-focused and/or product-based social enterprise is virtually impossible’. There’s already an interesting discussion forming in the comments below the post.

Read the blog here

It’s good to talk

Our friends at Good Finance are running two ‘Let’s Talk Good Finance’ events this month, one in Braintree on 17th January and one in Wolverhampton on 29th January. The events bring together charities, social enterprises and organisations with social investors to network, share information and discuss the latest issues relating to repayable finance. It’s free to attend.

Register for a place here

On repeat

I included this at the end of last year but I’m including it again because who was paying attention to anything during December?

The Fore Trust have opened applications to their grants programme to support funding and strategic support to early-stage charities and social enterprises. Development funding of up to £30,000 is available to charities, social enterprises and community interest companies with a turnover of less than £500,000 per year. The deadline for applications is 7th January.

More details here

The SSE website…is fake news?

Despite what it may say on our website, we’ve still got a few places left on the environment and conservation stream of our Scale+Accelerate programme. You’ll benefit from 10 days of learning at no cost to you, spread between February and September 2019, focused on helping you scale your organisation. Take a look at the course information here and email [email protected] if you’d like any further details.

Pay to play

I’m always slightly suspicious of awards that you have to pay to enter (particularly when they come with a workshop that you can pay for before entering) but the 2019 Global Good Awards are now open for entries if that sort of thing takes your fancy.

You can enter here

Blast from the past

A long long time ago (like two years or something) SSE had an employee named Leonie. You may remember her from featuring in this newslettter when it was revealed she used to go to school on a Shetland Pony.

Anyhow, she’s now working for a tech start up called CoGo connecting ethical consumers with brands that hold their value. They are looking for social enterprises to sign up to the platform and help find you to customers. At the moment they are based in London only but hope to roll out nationally through 2019.

Sign up your enterprise here

Trade up, up and away

A reminder that we’re currently accepting applications to the Community Business Trade Up programme, a fully funded programme is for community businesses who want to grow by increasing their sales. If you plan to grow your organisation’s plans trading by at least £10,000 in the next year then be sure to apply by February 14th.

Apply here

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin…

I’d always thought that was the introduction to Jackanory but I’ve just Googled it and it turns out it’s from a radio show called Listen With Mother. I really do learn something new at work every day.

If you would like to learn how storytelling can be used within your organisation’s marketing and communication then ‘Good Stories’ in London on February 26th could be worth checking out. It’s a ‘one-day event to arm you with practical tools and tips, targeted specifically at social enterprises’ and features SSE’s head of comms Sophie Hobson as a speaker.

Buy a ticket here

Celebrate good times

SSE Fellow Lisa Stepanovic is hosting an evening celebrating the achievements of the young people that have been supported by her organisation Social Ark. Taking place in Canary Wharf on January 30th between 6pm and 8pm the event promises to be a lively night full of short performances and inspirational words.

It”s free to attend and you can book a spot here 

Now everyone’s favourite section: procurement news

New research by Tusell on behalf of Social Enterprise UK has found that of the 10% of government contracts listed as suitable for voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations only 11% of these were actually one by VSCE organisations. Of these, only 1% were picked up by CICs. As SEUK’s Charlie Wigglesworth says, “More needs to be done by the government to signal to procurement teams that social enterprises should be taken seriously when they are bidding for contracts”.

Or perhaps someone just needs to set up a community interest shipping company. The fewer boats involved the better.

Read more here

New year, new you?

Finally, SSE Fellow Anne-Marie Douglas is recruiting for a Youth Engagement & Coproduction Manager for her organisation Peer Power Youth. Based in London, Peer Power Youth support the most vulnerable children and young people in society; those impacted by adverse childhood experiences, including abuse, trauma, rejection and loss, those most excluded and not heard in society, and often with experience of social care and youth justice agencies.

The job pays £29,177 – £36, 644 and the deadline to apply is January 21st.

Apply here

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What’s on at SSE:


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