Launch of Swindon Social Enterprise Network

By Jamie Hill - 12 October 2018

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The new Swindon Social Enterprise Network (SSEN) will be formally launched at a lunchtime event; 12.30 to 14:30 on Wednesday 14th November at the Central Community Centre, Emlyn Square, SN1 5BP.

The SSEN website will be unveiled along with the screening of the first case study film showcasing a flourishing Social Enterprise within Swindon. Two SE’s: The Mechanic’s Institute Trust and Raw Workshop will also present their stories. Numbers are limited at the event on a “first come, first served basis” anyone wishing to attend with an interest in social enterprise may book a place via this link: https://ssenlaunch2018.eventbrite.co.uk

The network aims to: Bring together a diverse group of people and organisations who share a common passion: To support the growth of social enterprise initiatives within Swindon via collaboration, and the sharing of skills, resources, knowledge & experience.

Swindon Social Enterprise Network is a membership organisation focused on supporting Social Enterprises and Social Entrepreneurs based or working in the borough of Swindon. Membership of the network is also open to Social Enterprises in the surrounding areas, individuals and Public and Private sector organisations with an interest in, or who are actively promoting or supporting Social Enterprise.

Membership is open to up and running Social Enterprises, aspiring Social Enterprises, or those with a desire to support and engage with Social Enterprise in Swindon.

What is Social Enterprise? It’s the “third way”: So what are the other two ways? The first is traditional business for profit, whereby the proceeds of trade are usually distributed to shareholders, owners or investors, where there is little or no profit reinvested for the direct benefit of the community/environment.

The second way is based on the charitable institution model whereby goods and services are by and large given free of charge in order to address a social or environmental issue. For their funding these organisations have traditionally relied upon gifts (money or in kind) from individuals and/or organisations and private/public grants.

So what happens if you combine the two? When you take the entrepreneurship needed to build a business that seeks to be self-sustaining and mix it with the compassion that drives giving with no expectation of a return. The answer: A Social Enterprise: The Third Way.

Who operates the SSEN: The network is an unincorporated community voluntary interest group ran and sponsored by individuals and organisations that appreciate the value that the growth of SE will bring to Swindon. The current steering group consists of 10 members representing SE’s and local businesses operating in Swindon (See NOTES TO THE EDITOR, for list of current members).

What the network will aspire to offer: A vehicle for promoting social change through joined up thinking and working via:

  • An online searchable membership directory that will enable existing/aspiring SE’s to log their support needs, partners to log the resources they are willing to offer and ultimately the ability to match the two together.
  • Monthly networking events with guest speakers of direct relevance to SE.
  • Business start-up support for those wanting to know how to go about starting up an SE.
  • Business modules: Such as funding, finance/accounting, sales & marketing, human resources, health & safety etc.
  • Advice on the most appropriate legal entity to establish an SE as.
  • Working with the colleges and sixth forms to introduce students to the idea of SE.
  • Interaction with organisations and community groups representing those furthest from employment.
  • Education on such subjects as: Community funding, social investment bonds and social outcome evaluation.

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