First post of 2010, the 419th on this blog, no less. And a welcome back to everyone; I've been delving back into the delights of some policy consultation responses (festive fare indeed), but more excitingly welcoming two US interns for the month of January as part of our long-standing arrangement with St Olaf College in Minnesota. Welcome Matt and Nick to the team, and I hope they will be blogging here soon.
SSE London is recruiting students as well, so do get in touch, or suggest us to people who you think might benefit from one of our learning programmes. Check out all the various bursaries + events….
To start the year, a quick round-up of relevant news and info:
– Social enterprise features in the Archers shock (good work from the Plunkett Foundation….)
– Social enterprise ambassador and Big Issue Invest supremo Nigel Kershaw was awarded an OBE in the New Year's Honours list. Congrats to him, and also to John Kingston at Venturesome, and Margaret Lee of the Cresco Trust in Northern Ireland. See here for an article with more details
– The CIC regulator has acted following a consultation on the dividend caps in the structure; this means a change to 20% dividend (rather than 5% above base rate) and a 10% interest rate cap; if this kind of stuff fascinates you,
you need to get out more you can check out more on Soc Ent Mag's website; this largely seems to be what the sector was calling for to encourage greater investment. Given that the consultation report (see here) demonstrates that two CICs have paid a dividend in the last four years (total of £4500), it may be that the interest rate cap is the more telling of the two changes.
– Nat Whittemore did a great round up of the key moments of the social entrepreneurship decade towards the end of the year: do you agree? What would be the ones for the UK? I like the top 10, although how the latecoming Office of Social Innovation, with its (relatively) paltry funds and three men and a dog staff team make it in, I'm not sure :0) Nat also did his top 10 most viewed posts of 2009, which is well worth checking out; Rob Greenland's top 10 is a good read too if you're as snowed in as we look likely to be here
– As our (one) policy head over here, the first half of the year is going to be election-heavy for me, so was interested to see the Conservatives first foray into the NHS zone, with its mini-draft manifesto. ACEVO reckon that the promised move to personal budgets will create a "market for small social entrepreneurs"
– Can the 'John Lewis' model be applied to public services? Well, they did well over Christmas….
– We covered the HCT / Unite row a little bit at the end of the year; it's widened out more into a social enterprise / unions row; and where there's a social enterprise debate to be had, you'll find Rod Schwartz with a large wooden spoon, stirring and provoking: Are Social Enterprises Different When It Comes To Industrial Relations?
– Finally, Ben Metz + friends are trying to organise an unconference-y type fringe event to the Skoll World Forum in Oxford in a few months. If you think you'd like to get involved in OxJam 10, and support what could be a great networking / practice sharing event for social entrepreneurs, sign up to the pledge here. We have!