Onboarding: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

I’ve got two urgent matters that need to be completed by the end of the day: 1) write this newsletter 2) draw up an induction plan for a new member of staff starting on Monday. If I was to do the two things separately it would involve working well into the afternoon, which as everyone knows is completely unacceptable on a Friday. So, as part of my on-going quest for workplace efficiency I’m going to combine the two.

I should really run a course on time management…

Enjoy this week’s news


Take some time to settle in

Welcome to SSE. It’s a magical place, very much the Narnia of social enterprise. I’d recommend some time familiarising yourself with everything that we do – we published our annual report yesterday so that seems like a good place to start.

You can find it here

Understand the product

One of the things that you’ll notice as you work here is that we occasionally take some time out from emails and meetings to deliver some really rather good courses for social entrepreneurs.

At the moment, we’re accepting applications to our Community Business Trade Up programme. In case anyone calls to find out more, it’s a free learning programme (12 days over 9 months) for people people running community projects, community businesses, social enterprises which even comes with a match trading grant of up to £10,000. The deadline to apply is 1pm, Wednesday 27th November so tell anyone interested that they need to get a move on.

And then point them to this page on our website

Keep a suitcase ready

Who knows where your job at SSE could take you? Leeds. Dartington. Liverpool. Or even Cambridge, if you decide to go beyond the call of duty and apply to the Judge Business School’s Social Venture Incubator. It’s a cracking package of support that aims to help social ventures to secure finance, embed their social mission, measure their impact, develop strong governance and grow to the next level. It’s open to all, you don’t have to have anything to do with the University of Cambridge.

Make sure you apply by Monday 20th January

In fact, keep two suitcases ready

Because you might like to head up to Bradford next week for the M&S Community Business Challenge – Bradford event, which takes place on Wednesday. Attendance is free and open to anyone that wants to connect with and help to celebrate those businesses helping to create more cohesive communities and stronger local economies in Bradford.

You can book a ticket here

Be inspired

By the inspirational leadership. Don’t be insolent. There is no room for insolence at SSE. You are surrounded by hidden greatness, or so I’m told. If it seems a little too hidden and you wish to seek leadership development elsewhere, you could take a look at The King’s Fund’s Cascading Leadership Programme, which starts in March next year. It’s a free peer-to-peer leadership development programme for organisations working in health and wellbeing.

Closing date for applications is 9th December

Get to know our students and Fellows

They’re an impressive bunch. Take Teresa Reynolds, for example: she’s been featured in Pioneers Post’s latest ‘Ladies who lunch’ feature. Teresa’s social enterprise Incredible Brilliant Youth was set up in July 2012 ‘to help empower and improve the confidence of young people through workshops and talks on self esteem, beauty, body image, education and employment’. Teresa has a ‘get started with makeup’ course for those aged 16-25 and not in education, employment or training in Kennington coming up in November. It’s free, if you know someone who could be interested put them in touch with Teresa via info@ibyouth.org.uk.

Upstairs downstairs

Yes yes, there is a bar directly below our offices. But don’t neglect the upper floors of the building – that’s where you’ll find the friendly team at Social Enterprise UK. They’re currently busy planning Social Enterprise Day, which takes place on 21st November. Social enterprises can take part in the #WhoKnew campaign, giving social enterprises the chance to tell their stories, show what makes them different from traditional businesses and shout about the impact of their work.

It’s super easy to get involved: visit their website to find out more

Use the correct bins

We’ve got different bins for paper, food, plastic and metal. I don’t know if that would qualify us for our own Environment Entrepreneurs Programme, however. We’re looking to support the leaders of fifteen community organisations delivering environmental change in the Midlands, North West, Yorkshire and the North East.  The six month programme is funded by the Co-op Foundation and begins in January next year.

Apply by 14th November

Make sure you listen to the right people

But if it gets a bit too noisy, you might like to listen to the radio instead. I recommend ALL FM 96.9, a Manchester based community radio station whose director is SSE Fellow Ed Connole.  They recently picked up ‘Station of the Year’ at the Community Radio Awards. The judges described the station in glowing words: ‘possibly the most inclusive, diverse station I have ever heard and is a wonderful example of what Community Radio should be’.

You can read more about the award here or you can listen to the station online here.

Network with the other organisations in the sector

They’re a good lot, all in all. Obviously ***** are a bit strange and you might want to steer clear of ***** but there are lots of decent people to speak to. Take the team at Clore, for example. They’ve just launched their Emerging Leaders Programme: Women and Girls sector for those working in organisations run by, for and with women and girls. It’s a 5-month programme for those ‘keen to build their leadership impact, connect with other leaders, and drive social change.’

You can find out more here – deadline to apply is Monday 9th December. 

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A ship without a rudder: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

Between June 13th 2010 and 5th December 2011 Belgium had no government. That’s 541 days without a government. Nothing bad happened. It’s a similar situation at SSE HQ this week – we’ve been without any senior managers in the office since Tuesday afternoon. They are all on holiday at an international ‘away day’ for the SSE network in Dartington. Nothing bad has happened. Yet. I guess there are still a few hours left in the week for someone to burn the building down. Still, it does pose a few interesting questions…

Have a good weekend, and if anyone knows of a printer who can do same day A5 brochures in London please let me know – I’m having a bit of a crisis today!


An item about Zurich containing minimal Zurich info

What do you know about the city of Zurich? I realised while writing this that I know next to nothing about Zurich. I should really find out more, it looks quite a nice place. I do know that it’s home to Zurich Insurance, hosts of the 2020 Innovation Championship. They are looking for ‘startups with an existing and differentiated product or service that can help us create a social impact’ to enter, with a deadline of 17th December.

You can read all about it here

Celebrate good times

I missed this a while back but congratulations to SSE Fellow Danny Dawes, who recently won the 2019 Small Business Big Heart Awards. Danny runs Grandad’s Front Room, a social enterprise in Bognor Regis that acts both as a shop and as a resource and space for the local community. It’s a well deserved award.

Read more here

Work out

Children’s charity Child.org have launched the rather fantastically named Cahoots, a flexible work space for innovative charities and social enterprises near Old St, London. It’s £350 per month, you get free breakfast and lunch and you can take your dog in with you. It’s also a social enterprise – all profits go back to Child.org.

Everything you need to know is here

Time filler

If you’ve got a spare half hour today perhaps you could take part in some academic research? Dr Yanto Chandra at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s Department of Applied Social Sciences is currently investigating how social entrepreneurs develop and organise their social enterprises. There’s a 30 minute survey that you can complete to get you half an hour closer to the weekend.

Find it here

Property ladder

A really neat idea from SSE student Suzanne Noble: she’s launched Silversharers.com, matching older homeowners with long-term renters to help alleviate loneliness, provide a social connection and generate a passive income stream. At the moment they are operating in London and looking for both older home owners with a spare room and also for people of any age looking for somewhere to live.

Check it out here


Venture capital firms, angel investors, partners, leaders and influencers and you could be at the Collective London Accelerator 2019 Demo Day in London on 21st November. Six social entrepreneurs will be showcasing their organisations and there will be a panel discussion on ‘connecting communities through social innovation’. It’s free to go along – let me know if you meet someone who describes themselves as an influencer, I’ve never met one.

Book a place here

Human after all

At some point in the future this newsletter will be written by a robot. The quality will almost certainly be better and it would save me a job so it would be good news all round really. Sadly the technology isn’t quite there yet, so maybe I should enter Microsoft and Social Tech Trust’s AI for Good 2020 accelerator. It’s a four month programme of talks, workshops and seminars at the Microsoft for Startups space in Shoreditch. To be eligible to apply you need to have working tech product in existence.

Find out more

All rise

Social entrepreneurs in Plymouth should take a look at RISE Trade Up: The Trading Development Programme, which is being delivered by SSE Dartington. The programme aims to help the leaders of social purpose organisations to increase sustainability and social impact through growing their trading and sales, with two years of training, support and finance.

Apply by 4th November

Hot off the press

Natwest and Pioneers Post have literally this morning opened applications to the NatWest SE100 and Social Business Awards, giving you ‘the chance to join a prestigious cohort of the UK’s most groundbreaking social enterprises from the past decade’. There are eight categories to enter.

Apply by 31st January – it will be here before you know it.

Looking to make sense of social investment?

Finally, we’ve got places available on next Thursday’s Unlocking Social Investment workshop. It’s a really good line up of speakers: Denise Holle, Portfolio Director, Big Society Capital; Joanne Wedderspoon, Funder Relations Manager, CAF Venturesome; Deborah Smart, Head of Programmes + Grants, Social Investment Business and Caroline Morgan, Chief Executive, Local Food Links.

You can find out more here

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