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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Recently updated: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

The more eagle-eyed among you will notice that the irritating picture of me in the email header above has been replaced by a new, possibly even more irritating picture of me. Before you start, it wasn’t my idea. I was told to do it by the powers that be so contact them with any feedback. I don’t want to hear it. Apparently I don’t look like I did three years ago so need to bring it all up to date- I like to think it’s because I look older and wiser but it’s probably just because I’m older and have new glasses.

Right, that’s out the way so let’s crack on with this week’s news…


Simply the best

Have you ever wondered where the best place to be a social entrepreneur is? Wonder no more, because the answer is Canada. That’s according to Thomson Reuters Foundation, who have just published the results of a survey which interviewed 800+ social entrepreneurs around the world and asked about their experience being a social entrepreneur in their country. As has been pointed out on Twitter, the methodology isn’t the most solid but it’s an interesting read nonetheless.

You can read the results here and there is also a free networking event and panel discussion to launch the report in London next Tuesday morning. You can book a ticket here.

Headline act

If you missed out on tickets for next year’s Glastonbury never fear, I’ve got the perfect alternative: The Plymouth Social Enterprise Festival. You don’t even have to wait until next summer because it’s taking place between 16th + 25th November and I’m reliably informed that there’s a 0% chance that you’ll have to watch Coldplay at any point.

There’s loads of good stuff going on, you can find out more here.

Going global

If this newsletter leaves you wanting more words from SSE staff members on the screen in front of you then your in luck this week. Our head of comms Sophie stared into a crystal ball and came up with her perfect future in ‘Fast forward: three changemakers reveal their vision of a positive future‘ for the Guardian while I shared some marketing tips over on the Pioneers Post website.

What a way to make a living

I’ve got three meetings today so will be paying close attention to Happy’s ‘five simple ways to improve any meeting you run.’

Which you can find here

A quasi-equity storm in a tea cup

If you like articles about Big Society Capital then the past week must have been like Mardi Gras for you. At one point I thought there were going to be more articles about Big Society Capital published than articles about Brexit. First up, Eastside Primetimers’ Richard Litchfield posed the question ‘is Big Society Capital a big problem?‘. Nope, ‘we’re part of a Big Solution‘ replied Cliff Prior, ceo of BSC.

Here’s ‘Access’s take on the cost of capital in social investment‘ chipped in Seb Elsworth. David Floyd provided commentary on Twitter.

All very exciting really. If you don’t have a clue what anyone in any of the articles is going on about (and I wouldn’t blame you) you might like to check out our Unlocking Social Investment course on 7th November.

Nominative non-determinism

Exciting times in Liverpool where Steve Rotherham, the slightly confusingly named Metro Mayor of Liverpool City Region, has announced a new fund worth up to £5m to support ‘socially trading organisations to multiply and grow across the city region’. At the moment a working group is looking for  feedback from local socially trading organisations, community businesses and the wider city region social economy.

Worth keeping an eye on

Serious bit

There’s been a noticeable increase in the amount being written about social entrepreneurialism and mental health over the last twelve months or so, which can only be a good thing. Reporting from this year’s Social Enterprise World Forum, Reuters cover how ‘more social entrepreneurs report burnout‘ while back in Blighty chief executive of Lloyds Bank Foundation Paul Streets writes that ‘charity leaders must take care of their mental health‘.

Speculate to accumulate

Your chance to play the market and make millions*: Co-Op have set up an organisation called Student Co-op Homes, which is looking to raise finance to purchase properties in Glasgow, Nottingham and Brighton to be leased to student co-op housing groups. It’s a neat idea which allows students to bypass private landlords and collectively own and manage their own digs. They are now looking to raise £2m in funding through a share offer – you can invest from £50.

Find out more here

*please don’t ever take financial advice from this newsletter

Local news for local people

Southwark Council have launched the Southwark Pioneers Fund, offering grants of up to £5000 to ‘enterprises and entrepreneurs who may be piloting, testing and experimenting with new/innovative solutions, and/or at an early stage in their growth journey’.

Deadline to apply is 25th November 

Odd jobs

SSE Fellow and current board member Joel Davis has two vacancies at his fantastic social enterprise Tutors United. He’s looking for a Programme Coordinator (£20,000 – £24,000) and a Tutor Coordinator (also £20,000 – £24,000) to join his team, based in Shoreditch. Tutors United provide affordable private tutoring to the primary school pupils who need it most. You can find out more here and apply by 4th November. If you do see Joel remind him he owes me a crate of cider.

SSE Fellow Yvonne Farquharson has two positions within her organisation Breathe AHR: an Arts in Health Project Manager (£31,000) and a Head of Development / Fundraising (£40,000). Based in London, it’s a brilliant organisation which brings performing arts and research into healthcare settings.

Definitely a job that someone reading this newsletter can do – the Association of Mental Health Providers are recruiting a Social Enterprise Development Manager (£34,950) promote and support the voluntary mental health sector in the use of enterprise business models. The location for the role is flexible. You can apply here.

Finally on the recruitment front, SSE Fellow Emma Baines has a vacancy for an Operations Manager (£25k-28k) at her organisation Find Your Voice. The organisation creates singing communities where people are seen to grow, heard through a collective voice, together, achieving something different. You can find a job description here.

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Not what you were hoping for: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

I’ve been running a Facebook ad campaign to promote this newsletter over the last week and so we have quite a lot of new subscribers (hello to all of you, make yourselves at home). The pressure is on to deliver something good. Something memorable. Something that will get all these new readers telling all their friends and colleagues about this amazing newsletter they’ve signed up to.

But there is a problem. I had to pick my son up from nursery earlier this morning so I’m writing this with Peppa Pig on in the background, and if there is anything that can rot your brain and kill all inspiration it’s Peppa Pig. Amazing will just have to wait until next week.

Enjoy the news!


A music reference that would have been topical 25 years ago

“It’s the state of the nation, state of the nation” sang New Order. “We can be more precise than that” Social Enterprise UK thought. So they launched the State of Social Enterprise, a banging report that’s updated and re-released every two years. The latest report is titled ‘Capitalism in Crisis? Transforming our Economy for People and Planet’. I’ve only had a chance to glance at it but it looks like it’s packed full of good info.

Read the report here

Home improvement

“We need to go to Ikea” is a sentence that strikes me with fear. No amount of meatballs or mini Dime bars can make up for the horror of a Saturday afternoon snaking around their showroom. And that’s before you even get home and have to try and decode the instructions for a Billy Bookcase.

But they’ve gone someway to make things better by introducing a new collection collaborating with social enterprises from India, Thailand, Jordan and Romania. Best of all, none of the items need assembly!

Read more here

Fellows in high places

The Government’s Office for Disability Issue has announced eight new chairs to a Regional Stakeholder Network tasked with driving change and improving the lives of disabled people around the country. Of the eight, three are SSE Fellows: Naomi Tomkys of Sky Badger, Liz Leach Murphy of Imagineer CIC and Samantha Everard of Support and Mentoring Enabling Entrepreneurship (SAMEE).

You can find out more here

A leaderless revolution

An interesting topic of conversation to strike up the next time you have a meeting with a manager: ‘do we need leaders anymore?’. It’s a question that will be discussed at Akou’s Disrupting Leadership event in London on Wednesday 23rd October. There are loads of organisations contributing, including Forum for the Future, Black Thrive, WomenLikeMe, OurSpace, Ubele, Lea_p and Creative Community Placemakers Network. (Akou is a location data company co-founded by SSE Fellow Tilley Harris.)

Book a free place here

South by south west

A super opportunity for social enterprises in Devon, Plymouth and Torbay – ethical IT business Cosmic are hosting a free two day Digital Marketing Bootcamp in Ivybridge starting this coming Monday. The content looks solid: you’ll learn how to make best use of social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin and also how to develop a digital marketing strategy.

Book a spot here

And now, some facts about West Bromwich

Making it’s first ever appearance in Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You this week is the West Midlands town of West Bromwich. Perhaps most famed for its football team, West Bromwich is market town in the borough of Sandwell. It has a population of approximately 78,000 and was a centre for coal mining, brick making, the iron industry, and metal trades such as nails, springs, and guns. 

But, what could really put West Bromwich on the map is the free ‘funding growth in your social enterprise’ event at Sandwell College on 20th November.

Work for SSE

London or Cornwall, you decide. We’re looking for a programme manager in London and a learning manager, a learning facilitator (22.5 hrs) and a learning facilitator (30 hrs).

The London vacancy is here and the Cornwall vacancies are here.

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Grand Designs: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

According to the organisers of ‘Improve Your Office Day‘ (which takes place today),  ‘working in a plain, corporate environment can be demoralising at the best of times’. Now, the more cynical among you may well leap to comment that the sentence could read ‘working can be demoralising at the best of times’ but I’m not here to cater for cynicism. I’m here to improve your office.

A lot of companies have been making some good progress in recent years. It’s not unusual for larger organisations to have break out rooms and ping pong tables. A decent start. But what can smaller organisations do? Here are my top tips for office interior design success:

  1. Replace all office chairs with something more comfortable. Leather armchairs are one possible option.
  2. A log fire should be used as a cosier alternative to a radiator.
  3. Many offices will benefit from having some music on in the background. A jukebox can be an effective way to offer this.
  4. Employee wellbeing can be rapidly improved by removing all computers from the premises. Instead, why not give staff the chance to watch BT and Sky Sports on a big screen?
  5. Provide a variety of food (crisps, nuts and pork scratchings usually go down well)  and drinks (a selection of ales, wine and a full range of soft drinks).
  6. ‘Office’ is a dull and uninspiring name for a workplace. Alternatives could include ‘The White Hart’, ‘The Hand and Flowers’ or ‘The Rose and Crown’.

If you follow all of those steps you will have gone a long way to live the values of Improve Your Office Day and you can proceed with reading this week’s news. I cannot promise that productivity will increase, however.


Get yourself connected

If you just can’t get enough of SSE, our comms team have asked me to point out that you can keep in touch with everything we do on social media too. We’re on Twitter (@schsocent), Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/schsocent/), Linkedin (https://www.linkedin.com/company/school-for-social-entrepreneurs) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/SchSocEnt).

Charity Digital have put together a useful list of digital tools to help charities measure their impact, including a free online evaluation tool from the fantastically named Impactasaurus. (If you’re more in person than online we’re running our Measuring Social Impact course in London next month).

Discover the top digital tools to help charities measure their impact here

Be the change

There was certainly no grand ambition for this newsletter when I started it way back in 2013. If anything, it was something to do to fill the time. So it was something of a surprise to see it turn up on a list of ‘5 Purpose-Driven Newsletters That Can Change Your Life (and Business)’. I guess it’s kind of true seeing as this week I’ve provided advice on turning your office into a pub. That’s definitely something of a business shift. The other four on the list look much better than this rubbish.

See the full list here

Flying the coop

Is a co-operative right for you? Not a question I’ve been asked before and one that I certainly wouldn’t be able to provide a sensible answer to. So I should probably get myself to one of the free workshops that Co-operatives UK are running in London (5th November) and Manchester (26th November).

Which you can register for here

Scale tale

It’s official. It’s time to talk about scale. I know, we’ve all been treading around the topic not quite sure if we’re allowed to bring it up bit it’s ok. Go ahead and do so. To mark the occasion, Big Society Capital’s Candice Hampson has produced an epic report exploring ‘why it is imperative for all of us to really back social enterprises and get them to scale, and how to go about doing that.’

You can read it here

Parental advisory…

Students from our Scale+Accelerate programme graduated this week and at their graduation event they shared some tips on leadership for those managing growing organisations. There are some excellent pieces of advice but be warned: the article contains foul language from one of those who participated in the conversation. (That’s piqued your interest, hasn’t it?)

Read the $%£&$*! article here

Balancing act

SSE Fellow Clara Wilcox of The Balance Collective is running a workshop in Birmingham on October 17th looking at ‘how to create a work-life balance that works for you and the power of purpose in your career and business’. The workshop promises that you’ll leave feeling refocused, confident and in control. Sounds good. Readers of HIGSENFY can get £15 off a ticket by using the discount code ‘SSE’.

Find out more

News from the UK’s best city

An exciting opportunity for social enterprises to put forward proposals ‘to open a community space, co-working centre or pop-up shop in Oxford city centre’. It’s a 12 month opportunity to occupy 1-3 George St and it’s an enormous space – 5 floors and a ground floor of over 2,000sq feet. If you’re successful and you need someone to come and sort the interiors, I’m your guy…

Check out more here

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside

To sunny Poole, where SSE Fellow Claire Hodgson’s organisation Diverse City is running two different courses for those employed in the performing arts. Both are designed to promote equality and diversity on stage, off stage and in the audience Diversifying the Workforce in the Performing Arts on October 29th and The Inclusive Rehearsal Room on October 30th. I know we’ve got some SSE Fellows operating in the arts space so be sure to take a look.

Find out more 

I’ll have a P please Bob

Management consultants Wren and Greyhound are running charity and social enterprise sustainability workshops in York, Manchester and Birmingham this November. The workshop ‘introduces the paradoxes, principles and practices of sustainable organisations’. Readers of HIGSENFY can claim a discount on a ticket – just pop yourself through at the CVS member discount rate and tell them Dave said it was ok.

Find out more

A couple of jobs for your perusal

We’re looking for a National Programme Manager at SSE London (£37,085 – £40,775) to take the lead in managing and developing a range of programmes for social entrepreneurs. According to the blurb, ‘you will lead on programme planning and management and on outreach and student recruitment. You will work closely with the internal colleagues and external partners to ensure high quality delivery and an excellent experience for everyone involved’. Apply by 15th October.

Sutton Community Fund have a vacancy for a VegBox Logistics Coordinator (£24,765 pro rata) on a maternity cover basis. You’ll be responsible for ensuring the successful weekly distribution of 350+ VegBoxes to customers, so will need to be passionate about logistics and customer service, be highly organised and bring a can-do, proactive attitude to the team. Apply by 20th October.

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