FINANCE NEWS: Social enterprise group seeks bursary for manager training

MATHEW LITTLE

The Social Enterprise Coalition, the new umbrella body for social businesses, has called on the Government to set up a bursary scheme to enable practitioners to learn from each other.

Chairman Baroness Glenys Thornton welcomed the Department of Trade and Industry's social enterprise strategy, which was published last week as a "really good start", but asked the Government to go further to improve the skills of social enterprise managers.

Thornton wants a bursary scheme to pay for managers to visit and learn from successful social enterprises such as Greenwich Leisure, the Furniture Resource Centre and the Coin Street Community Builders.

The coalition wants to see the Government setting targets for the UK's nine regional development agencies to invest in social enterprises. In April, the Government transferred the £5.5 billion Single Regeneration Budget to the regional development agencies but is set against calls to ring-fence some of the money for social enterprise.

The coalition held its inaugural meeting last week and elected its first board members. The All Party Parliamentary Group for Social Enterprise was also launched last week. The 60-strong group includes Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman Lord Newby and Shadow Work and Pensions Minister David Willets.

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