Report on Shape the future of social enterprise in the South West 4 Sep 2008

I went to this event a few weeks ago. The immediate outcome is the call for expressions of interest in RISE-SW’s projects. The deadline is next Monday (29th September) at 12 noon, so get emailing if you’re interested in them. After that, shortlisted EoIs will get two weeks to write a full bid. I’ve asked for a non-Microsoft copy to be posted. Microsoft is a social problem, not a social enterprise.

The consultation event was a pretty straightforward introduction and discussion in small groups, followed by feedback to the whole group, with lunch to finish. The host was Gareth Hart of Perfect Moment (yet another non-SE hired by RISE instead of SE providers?).

First, the introduction covered the CapacityBuilders Social Enterprise Programme, the context of the programme and RISE’s suggested themes for support: accessibility of SE support, better opportunity for the Voluntary and Community Sectors to be more enterprising, improving SE quality standards and organisations, making SE infrastructure sustainable, and developing more peer-to-peer SE support and mentoring.

In the discussion that followed, I think the standards and sustainability themes were largely kicked into touch as unachievable with the available budget, while we felt peer-to-peer support was better as part of the more general accessibility and opportunities themes. My personal pet points were that if the Social Enterprise Mark is funded, it should benefit small SEs rather than RISE, and that if another database or directory is funded, it should be Open in licence and maintenance, like ODP and unlike previous directories which have wasted government money.

I’ll be interested to see how that’s reflected in the Call for Expressions when I get to reading it this week.

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