Business services 'should cater more for social enterprise'

Mainstream business support services need to be tailored specifically for social enterprises, according to a report commissioned by the English regional development agencies and the Office of the Third Sector.

The document, produced by research agency Rocket Science, calls for regional development agencies to be more sensitive to the particular needs and motivations of social enterprises and highlights the need for proactive specialist support to be provided at the pre-start phase.

Based on a mapping exercise of existing practice, the report also emphasises the importance of helping social enterprises to understand the financial products available to them.

In order to help social enterprises prosper, it calls for greater clarity within each region about the kinds of support different agencies provide, and for consistency of service within and across regions. It also says social enterprises should be permitted to choose between support services.

The findings will be used to help develop the additional business support mooted in last November’s social enterprise action plan.

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