A week of activities is happening starting 18th February to tell people about social enterprises in the Solent area and help them grow from strength to strength.
- Solent a beacon for social enterprise
- Key strengths include dynamic growth, women in leadership and green agenda
Solent is leading the country when it comes to social enterprise. It has just won an award by the national campaigning body SEUK and is now a ‘Social Enterprise Place’. This programme, supported by Santander, recognises hotspots of social enterprise across the UK. Solent is spearheading growth in the social enterprise sector and an upcoming summit and festival will bring together the sector to celebrate its progress and hear from key note speakers. The summit will kick start Solent’s first event Solent Enterprise Festival which includes a series of events and workshops to support the sector running between 18-25 February.
Social Enterprises attract a higher proportion of women leaders compared to other sectors and are at the forefront of the green economy. A social enterprise is a business that trades for a social or environmental purpose and there are more than 70,000 in the UK. Well known examples include The Big Issue and Jamie Oliver’s fifteen restaurant chain. Some Solent based social enterprises include Social Enterprise Link (Wessex) CIC, Community Empowerment, The Fox and Hounds Pub and You and Your Baby.
Social enterprises are starting up all over Britain. Nearly a third of all social enterprises are three years old or younger, with three times the proportion of start-ups than the SME sector. In villages, towns and cities up and down the country there are increasing numbers of small and large businesses that are run for the benefit of local communities. As a ‘Social Enterprise Place’ Solent is committed to growing social enterprise communities across the county by bringing together the council, businesses, charities, budding social entrepreneurs and local people.
Peter Holbrook, CEO of the campaigning body Social Enterprise UK, said: “As a Social Enterprise Place, Solent is re-injecting life into local communities across the region, creating opportunities, local wealth and changing lives for the better. Solent social enterprises are dynamic and showing strong growth - we need to continue to support the sector by buying from social enterprises across Solent and this festival is a great way to encourage people to find out more and buy social.”
John Merritt, of Solent Social Enterprise Link said: “It’s fantastic that Solent has been recognised as a great place for social enterprise by the national body. There are a range of great social enterprises across the region delivering first class services and re investing profit back into the local community and room for many more to develop. Social Enterprises are delivering innovative solutions to some of the most pressing problems of our time. This award will help raise the profile of work taking place and hopefully encourage greater investment in the sector.”
All are welcome to the summit which will take place at 11.15am Friday 19th February, James Matthews Building, Solent University SO14. For more information call John Merritt 07762 405248 or Geoff Wade 02392 178483.