Everybody seems to be talking about social enterprise.
In fact, so flavour-of-the-month is it that the Government has launched a social enterprise unit, under the auspices of the DTI. But what is social enterprise? Like most buzzwords, it is in danger of being appropriated by anyone with their eye on a grant or a mention in the press.
The web site for Social Enterprise London, a body set up to support the social economy in London, is therefore a welcome resource.
It describes the different types of social enterprise, organisational models, legal issues and sources of finance. The "Clusters
section of the site, which aims to encourage networking among social enterprises in specific areas such as health and childcare, has case studies of successful enterprises which break down some preconceptions of what social enterprises are. It is easy to forget that they do not have to be small ventures living from hand to mouth. BUPA, for example, is a social enterprise.
Probably the most useful feature on the site is the "Beeline
directory which lists around 500 social enterprises in London. If you want to find someone who has done it already and is struggling with the issues day by day, then this is the place to look.
Social Enterprise London