Funding Networking, Coops and SocEnt

As an aside to yesterday’s Another Network Begins note, I should mention that one of the challenges of running any inter-business project is paying for it. It surprises some people that many great cooperative projects are running on very small budgets, whereas it looks like some “Social Enterprise” groups are awash with cash.

How can this be, when it still looks like cooperatives are stronger financially than social enterprises? A written answer in Parliament on Monday suggests one possible reason: Co-operatives UK and The Plunkett Foundation together get £164k of Cabinet Office funding, while the Social Enterprise Coalition alone gets £488k and there are other SocEnt groups on the pay list.

Once again, I’m surprised by the way the Labour and Co-operative government is behaving, like I was on the way the real help initiatives exclude cooperative partnerships, while being open to both private sector employers and social enterprises. I’m all in favour of intervening in markets, but this doesn’t feel like it’s making things fairer.

Three strikes, funding social enterprise in preference to cooperatives – would a Conservative or Liberal Democrat government really be worse?

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