In the spirit of yesterday's brief look at the Labour manifesto, here's a look at the Conservatives' new document. Again, I'm not going to plough through all the detail that the Coalition has pulled out, or has already been discussed over several preceding weeks.
Much of the relevant stuff for social entrepreneurs was announced in the Big Society launch the previous week, with a Big Society Bank (also utilising money from unclaimed assets) providing finance to neighbourhood groups, social enterprises and charities; and also providing funding to intermediary bodies with a "track record of supporting and growing social enterprises". There's also the national citizens service, as well documented elsewhere, and the training up of independent community organisers to establish neighbourhood groups. It will be interesting to see where community organiser ends and early-stage social entrepreneur begins, I think…or when neighbourhood groups formalise their work and begin to trade or win contracts.
There is some interesting back to employment stuff, including a community learning fund to help people restart their careers, and "Work For Yourself" which gives access to mentoring + loans. Like Labour, employee-led and owned co-ops to deliver public services feature, as does the opportunity for parents to start new schools (still a very emerging space, this one). An intriguing one, and one that could be really interesting (given so many of the barriers are about culture, mindset and understanding) is recognising participation in social action in civil servants' appraisals.
Not much revelation then, but reading both these party documents, and acknowledging that government is only part of the social entrepreneurship world and space (and that there's much that needs detail and grounding), one has to stand back and recognise how much more recognition and understanding there is across the political spectrum of what this movement can contribute.