THE UK's social enterprise sector will become `a force to be reckoned` within the next two decades due to its contribution to the economy and its impact on social well-being.
That's the firm view of Social Enterprise Coalition Chief Executive Jonathan Bland, who says SEC is in the business of making that happen.
The SEC, set up last year, now has its initial three-year strategy boosted by a £ 50,000 grant from the Co-operative Action fund, which was established to support the development of new co-operative enterprises.
`The coalition brings together all types of social enterprise organisation in the UK, from co-operatives to social firms,` said Mr Bland. `Our objective is to bring about real social and economic change and to provide a coherent voice which shows that social enterprise means business.`
The seeds for the coalition were sown in reports that emerged from a number of Government Policy Task Forces, as well as the Co-operative Commission and was buoyed up by massive strategic investment from the Department of Trade and Industry.
Added Mr Bland: `The social enterprise sector embraces all shapes and sizes of new, emerging and established businesses as people and communities come together for economic development and social gain.
`It combines the entrepreneurial skills of the private sector with a strong social mission.
`But, with some long-established exceptions, the sector is still young and poorly understood by those on whom its growth depends. It's also weakened by fragmentation and insufficient access to shared learning.`
This is where the SEC aims to bridge the gap and provide a national voice for social enterprise.
Drawing on the experience and knowledge of the sector, the coalition plans to achieve broader understanding, business recognition and public awareness of social enterprise; help government and other bodies to understand how they can bring about change; encorage a larger, stronger and more sustainable regional sector and build a comprehensive resource for business support and specialist finance.
SEC believes dialogue with the DTI, the Small Business Service, Regional Development Agencies and devolved administrations will provide information and encourage the use of social enterprise solutions in a variety of settings from employee ownership to local community services.
`The coalition embodies all the principles for which the grant and loan funds were set up a year ago,` says Stephen Youd-Thomas of Co-operative Action. `Social enterprise is an integral part of the Co-operative Movement and this initiative promotes the sector in a number of key areas.`
In this article
- British co-operative movement
- chief executive
- Co-operative Commission
- Consumers' cooperative
- Jonathan Bland
- Social economy
- Social Enterprise Coalition
- Social Enterprise East Midlands
- Social firm
- Social Issues
- Social systems
- The Co-operative Group
- U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission