¡Ay, caramba! Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You


This week we said goodbye to our Communications Manager Leonie who decided that four and a half years of trying to communicate everything that we do was quite enough and that she’d rather travel around South America in the sunshine without any responsibility or having to get up for work every morning. Personally I can’t see the appeal. Anyhow, as a friend I thought it was important to pass on some top tips so that Leonie can enjoy her travels safely. (These will also apply to your summer holiday, so feel free to write them down…)


Check out Conceptos Plásticos

As you are going to be in the area, it seems only sensible that you make a trip to Conceptos Plásticos, a Colombian social enterprise which recently picked up first place in Chivas’ The Venture competition. Conceptos Plásticos use waste plastic and rubber to build affordable houses which are constructed in a similar manner to Lego.

Consider your own environmental impact.

Do you even need to go to South America? Your return flight from London to Bogota alone will release 3.57 tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere which seems quite a lot. Have you considered Birmingham as an alternative, more environmentally friendly destination? If you headed there for 2nd August you could even go on a free social enterprise city tour and meet some of Birmingham’s most influential social entrepreneurs. You can’t do that on the Galapagos.

Take something to listen to on long journeys. 

Because 36 hour bus journeys get boring very quickly. I’d recommend downloading last week’s edition of Radio 4’s The Bottom Line which spoke to a number of entrepreneurs about their experiences starting a new business. Social entrepreneurs will be able to relate to a lot of the challenges that the interviewees faced.

Embrace technology.

I know, I know, you’ve got your selfie stick. Your phone is loaded up with Pokemon Go. All bases covered. But if you do come across any other exciting technologies on your travels you may want to nominate them for Nominet Trust’s NT100 – a global quest to find the 100 most inspiring social tech innovations from around the world.

Take lots of money. 

You can pretend that you’re going away to explore other cultures, learn a language or even do some volunteering but we all know the real reason. You want to get drunk on the beach. And to do that you need some money. Sadly I don’t think you’ll be able to make a successful application to the Woodward Charitable Trust or The Masonic Charitable Foundation who are both accepting applications for grants. (You may have better luck with Alcohol Research UK’s small grants programme however). It’s a shame you won’t be around for our Sources of Funding workshop on August 12th so we could give you some fundraising tips.

Step away from the bar at least once to enjoy some culture, some media, some sport.

But don’t even think about combining them with any social enterprise activity. You’ll have business leaders writing you letters.

Use the time to reflect. 

Look back at all the good times that you had at SSE, like all those strangely convenient meetings we arranged in the pub at 4pm on a Friday. Including the one where we met Numbers for Good’s Matt Black, who has just written ‘A helping hand to securing investment‘ highlighting some of the challenges faced by charities and social enterprises seeking social investment. (Readers – please note that I am still very much available for 4pm meetings in the pub on a Friday. Just ask and I’ll be there.)

Coffee can come in handy when combating jet lag.

You can get some fine coffee in South America, I hear. But again – did you really need to go all that way to get it? You could have stayed at home and enjoyed a cup from one of these social enterprise cafes featured in the Guardian.

Finally, try and stay in a social enterprise hotel.

Once again, you didn’t need to cross the Atlantic to do so. You could have simply checked into one of these social enterprise hotels in Scotland, which all look pretty amazing.

Safe travels.

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