Lobby body for social enterprise

A group of UK umbrella bodies have formed a coalition to lobby government on ways in which it can help people launch their own businesses, including social enterprises.

Enterprise for All hopes to provide a single voice on the enterprise cause to boost the individual campaigning power of its six members: the Social Enterprise Coalition, the Black Training and Enterprise Group, the Community Development Finance Association, the National Federation of Enterprise Agencies, Prime and Prowess.

To mark its launch, the coalition, which will be known as EfAC, has commissioned Enterprise for All - progressing the agenda, a report that lays out policy recommendations for the Government and Regional Development Agencies.

The research stresses that enterprise is an "approach to life" and suggests that the term should cover "all kinds of organisational form and mission", from "purely profit-oriented activities" to those with "social or environmental aims".

One of the report's key requests is that the Government should appoint a minister within the Department of Trade and Industry who would take on 'enterprise for all' within their remit. In addition, the research suggests that the Treasury's Comprehensive Spending Review, which is due to report in 2007, should include a public service agreement for those involved in diversifying and promoting enterprises.

The study also calls for a cross-departmental working group to deal with enterprise issues and further research by the Small Business Service into how people can develop their entrepreneurial skills.

The report's author, policy analyst, researcher and writer Andrea Westall, said the coalition was asking for "commitment and understanding" from the Government on the issue of how to improve enterprise in this country.

"Social enterprise has been promoted in Britain as being about running a business yourself, with your own earned income," she said. "But in Europe it has a very different purpose - it is about providing different forms of government and democracy."

Jackie Brierton, director of policy and advocacy at women's support organisation Prowess, said: "For the first time, six national organisations have come together with one clear message: if gender, age, ethnicity, finance or location hold enterprising people back, we still need central and regional government resources and political will to make a difference."

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