Happy Social Enterprise Day: Social Enterprise Action Plan

So, drum roll, here’s the Social Enterprise Action Plan (pdf), and the Office of the Third Sector’s accompanying press release. And what does it say? Well, it’s in four areas which are:

1) Fostering a culture of social enterprise
2) Ensuring right information/advice are available
3) Enabling access to appropriate finance
4) Enabling social enterprises to work with government

Headlines within those include:

  • Promote social enterprise within schools, providing
    curriculum materials and ensuring it is studied in GCSE and A level
    business studies courses;
  • Appoint up to 20 social enterprise ambassadors to be role models for new entrepreneurs across the UK
  • Make over £18m available over the coming years to help knock down barriers to growth and enable social enterprises to thrive
  • Support the National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship in promoting social enterprise as a career to young people
  • Research
    new ways to provide social enterprise learning at tertiary level and
    review whether existing professional training provisions meet the
    specific needs of social enterprises;
  • Support a marketing
    campaign to promote social enterprise to young people aged 14–30
    (Enterprise Insight’s Make Your Mark: Change Lives).

Which is all good, worthwhile stuff. Other points of interest include increased funding to the RDAs for social enterprise support, £10m directly for social enterprises (though how is to be decided), and involvement for social enterprises in the Olympics. At the launch of the plan this morning, both Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband name-checked the SSE and our work, which is good to hear. Later on today, our Chief Exec Alastair Wilson will also be appearing on a Dragon’s Den-type panel with Tim Smit, Cliff Prior (new CEO of UnLtd) and Ed Miliband as part of today’s activities; who will be the Simon Cowell?

It is perhaps interesting to compare the main themes with those that Alun Michael announced in the Spring:

  • confirming the value and credibility of social enterprise through new research into the impact of social enterprise;
  • embedding social enterprise as a recognised business model by
    ensuring that the publicly funded business support provided by RDAs is
    readily available and applicable to social enterprise;
  • helping to open markets to social enterprise by working with other
    government departments and local authority purchasers to remove
    barriers within the procurement process for third sector organisations;
  • encouraging new entrants to social enterprise by raising awareness
    of social enterprise among new entrepreneurs, working with Enterprise
    Insight, National Council of Graduate Entrepreneurship and the Social
    Enterprise Coalition.

Quite similar, although "encouraging new entrants" has become the wider "fostering a culture of….", but it’s all there otherwise, in a coherent and comprehensive way. It will be interesting to track the regular progress reports on the Cabinet Office website…

Lest we get too Anglo-centric though,  it’s worth noting that the Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition have also launched their manifesto (Bigger Better Bolder) today. See here for more (and to download), but the key points are:

  • Delivering 10% of public spending through social enterprise by 2012
  • Using community benefit clauses in all public procurement contracts
  • Making it easier to communities to own assets and develop enterprises
  • Developing a joined-up national program for supported employment
  • Creating new investment models for businesses making social or environmental benefits

Also today is Make Your Mark with a Tenner wherein 10,000 young people are being given £10 and challenged as follows: "Each student is ‘loaned’ £10 and given 1 month to make an impact. Participants
must work to the best of their abilities to ensure that within one
month they are able to repay their initial £10 and demonstrate how they
made their mark and what profit they made." The 50 who make the biggest profit and the 50 who make the biggest social impact will be highlighted….

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One thought on “Happy Social Enterprise Day: Social Enterprise Action Plan

  1. I want to let you all know what I’m up to because we have so much in common in terms of basic philosophy of learning for, by, with social entrepreneurs.
    I have recently launched a wiki (http://selearninggames.wikispaces.com) and its companion blog (http://selearninggames.wordpress.com). Places for social entrepreneurs to make an elearning game together that will solve the mystery of enterprise profitability.
    Solutions to the mystery of profitability lie hidden in our collective experience. Together, we all know what each one of us needs to know. Through the process of making an elearning game together, we can discover and make explicit the strategic meta-patterns hidden in our common problems and common solutions. We can immediately apply, test, refine, and redistribute the clues to profitability that we discover.
    I understand your learning programs are local and physical. Since mine is virtual, free, and open to participation by social entrepreneurs all over the world — what I’ve got going on may be of value to the social entrepreneurs you work with.
    I invite you to check out the wiki and the blog. Let me know what you think. Please feel free to share this invitation with whomever and however you feel appropriate. I look forward to figuring out ways we can work more closely together to reach our common goals 🙂