Enterprises from across Wales will meet in Swansea on 29 September to discuss the importance of growth and sustainability. The social business sector in Wales is worth an estimated £1.7bn.
The biennial event – the Social Business Wales Conference – will feature keynote speakers from government bodies, the private sector, the public sector and social enterprises. The conference will also run a series of practical and interactive workshops for delegates on the day, from how to pitch and make their website an asset, through to winning public sector work through consortia working and competitive tendering.
The Social Business Wales project provides business support to social businesses which have plans for growth and expansion across Wales. It is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the Welsh Government, and is delivered by the Wales Co-operative Centre as part of the Business Wales service.
Speaking about the conference, Rhian Edwards, project manager for Social Business Wales at the Wales Co-operative Centre, said: “The social enterprise sector in Wales is redefining how business gets done, employing over 38,000 people, supporting 38,500 active volunteers and contributing an estimated £1.7billion to the national economy. We also know that when you buy from them, society profits.
“This month’s Social Business Wales Conference is specifically intended to provide these social businesses in Wales with inspiration, ideas and practical skills which will help them enter new markets, develop new products and services or adopt new structures – all of which will enable them to grow and be more sustainable.”
Keynote speakers include Ken Skates AM, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure; Sophie Howe, Future Generations Commissioner for Wales; Andy Middleton, founder director of social enterprise TYF Group; and Rachael Flanagan, founder director of Mrs Bucket.
Ms Flanagan is a multi-award winning and celebrated young entrepreneur. At 16, she had no idea what she wanted to do in terms of a career, but fate intervened one day when their domestic cleaner did not turn up and she offered to do the cleaning for her mother. Nine years on, Mrs Bucket has 200 members of staff servicing over 150 commercial premises on a daily basis. In 2014 Ms Flanagan was handpicked by the Prince of Wales as one of Wales’ leading business people to attend a celebratory event during the NATO summit.
Participants attending the conference will also get the chance to connect with exhibitors from the public, private and social enterprise sector in Wales – including all of the finalists from the Social Business Wales Awards, which take place the evening before the conference.
“We will be encouraging all our delegates attending, whether they are from a social enterprise, charity, co-operative or mutual, to share best practice; encourage innovation; and learn from and build partnerships with the private, public and not-for-profit sector,” added Ms Edwards. Wales is home to 1,500 social enterprises employing 38,000 people, with nearly one in five social businesses having been established within the last three years.
Delegates at the event will be able to take part in workshops which address the practicalities of running a successful social enterprise, and will include how-to topics such as pitching, diversifying income streams and making websites an asset. Others will address consortia working, managing employee engagement through times of change and the Well-being of Future Generations Act.
- The conference, which is free to attend and open to any social businesses, will take place at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea from 9am – 4pm on Thursday, 29 September. More information on the keynote speakers and workshops is available here.