Social enterprises to get Fairtrade-style kite-mark

A pilot project to develop a Fairtrade-type kite-mark and trade association for social enterprises has been started in the south-west of England.

Rise, a support group for social enterprises in the south west, and the London-based Social Enterprise Coalition are collaborating on the initiative, which aims to change the way social enterprises are perceived commercially.

The coalition is trying to negotiate funding from central government to enable the project to be carried out across the country.

The trade association, which should be in operation by the end of the year, will allow enterprises to collaborate with similar organisations and make use of leadership development training. It will be financed by revenue from membership fees, sponsorship and consultancy work.

There will be a feasibility study before a final decision is made about the kite-mark.

"The time is right for these developments," explained Cherry Read, head of policy and communications at the coalition. "People within the social enterprise movement have been talking for years about improving the value of what they deliver.

"Whatever kite-mark is produced will have to reflect a minimum quality standard and give individual organisations the flexibility to demonstrate their work in different ways."

Paula Howley, projects manager at Rise, said the initiative "could change the position of social enterprises in the marketplace".

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