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Social Enterprise Exchange (28th November 2013)

Social Enterprise Exchange is a forum for students, academics and practitioners of social entrepreneurship to exchange ideas and best practices in social enterprise teaching and practice. The workshop will adopt a mix of presentations, panels and small group formats.

 

This workshop aims to provide the "know-how" that will:

 

Diffuse on a wider scale the salient work conducted by academics, students and practitioners.Create an enabling environment where academics and practitioners can challenge themselves to push the boundaries of social innovation for societal good;Add value to the entrepreneurship objectives of our stakeholders, and;Cluster participants into working groups of interest, tasked with the design or development of relevant social enterprise resources which will provide the leverage for social entrepreneurship on a larger scale.

 

Speakers

 

Richard, Hazenberg, University of Northampton
Charles Oham, University of Greenwich
Christina Baby, Managing Director of First Fruit
Andrew Hardman, Director of Strategy and Business, Bromley Healthcare
Andrew Tilling, Founder, Preseli


 

 

What are the Support Opportunities for Student Social Entrepreneurs at HEIs?

The below list provides a summary of the support (both potential and current) that student social entrepreneurs can/should access whilst studying at a HEI. These headings were derived from the experiences of several academics and business support managers, as well as three social entrepreneurs who had received HEI support.

  • Mentoring: This was viewed by the workshop participants to be crucial in the formation of SE ideas and their operationalisation. This was particularly important because of the previous experience that the mentor had, which allowed the social entrepreneurs to learn vicariously. In addition, their ability to offer an external and independent opinion. This all combined to allow them to view an idea differently.
  • Finance: This is crucial for any start-up, but HEIs can offer support by providing competitive funding through competitions, or start-up/growth funding for suitable SEs. Finance could also be provided in the form of vouchers that can be cashed by the SE in return for daily support from business mentors/academics.
  • Two-way Exchange: HEIs can also benefit from this support, by asking supported SE’s to give presentations at the University, participate in research and help deliver initiatives on campus. This enables a two-way flow of social impact.
  • Expert Networks: The HEI can provide the SE with access to the expert knowledge networks (i.e. science, education, nutrition, engineering etc.). This allows the SE to seek cost-effective advice and support from recognised experts in their field.
  • Competition: As above with finance, competition provides the SE with the impetus that they need to develop their business plan. It also allows for a critique of the business plan to be received from the competition judges, which is seen as an additional form of mentoring.
  • Incubation Centre: This can provide the SE with office space, IT and HR resources and access to networks. It is particularly useful for encouraging networking with other SEs, third sector organisations and similar stage/size businesses.
  • Partnerships: These can be established between the SE, the HEI (faculties) and external organisations that have relationships with the university. This allows the SE to gain resources from a mix of the private and public sectors.
  • Alumni: Past graduates and other alumni of the university could be approached to provide money to support SE start-ups or those SEs seeking to scale-up. This may be more attractive to people than simple donations as they are funding potentially sustainable businesses and initiatives.
  • Accreditation: Where applicable, HEIs could provide SE programmes/interventions with accreditation or accredited support.
  • Social Impact: HEIs could also support SEs by providing them with independent and academic evaluations of their social impact and/or social value creation. This would assist the SE to demonstrate the added value that they are producing and to potentially use this to secure additional funding.

 

SE in the NHS

Action Point - how do we encourage a 'change of mindset'

  • Embed the skills required to work within SE's in education programmes - work with HEI's and professional and regulatory bodies to ensure students are fit for practice as they enter the work environment (incorporate business skills in healthcare programmes)
  • Profesional and Regulatory bodies - lobby relevant bodies to ensure SE becomes part of their agenda.
  • Research - good news stories in relation to SE need to be shared in the appropriate arenas for healthcare - this requires robust, peer reviewed research.
  • Business Development Unit (BDU) - SE's could grow their BDU's by incorporating education and research. This to could enhance their ability to function as 'learning organisation' which is flexible and responsive to the demands of the market in which they exist.

Social Capital on offer:

Universities - expertise; research skills; student body - 'think tank'
SE's - people / partners - 'think tank'; positive stories about healthcare; an alternative to privatisation

 

 Storming our capital for youth employment

Our working group was made up of emerging social entrepreneurs facing a variety of challenges to make their project happen.
Don Macdonald opened the session to introduce his theme regarding youth employment, the lack of it, that it was three times higher than adult unemployment and that there was no easy fix.
Charles then explained further his work around the various kinds of capital there are. His list, while not exhaustive, gives good food for thought.

Kinds of Capital
Social capital - who you know, how well, what they know and how well you can leverage this.
Environmental capital - buildings, land, materials
Cultural capital - the value to be found in shared cultural identity
Symbolic capital - the power of celebrity, story, icons or myth
Spiritual capital - faith and shared belief, and the resilience that comes from a faith led goal
Human capital - the skills of those in an organisation or group, perhaps untapped (how many well educated individuals retrain when arriving in a new country in order to find work)
Economic capital - financial resources

Andrew Tilling then led the group using the Storm Process (stormprocess.com) to see if we could find any solutions to the youth unemployment issue, while considering the various capitals available. Andrew had introduced the storm process in his talk earlier in the day as a tool kit for increasing the capacity of students as social entrepreneurs, as demonstrated in a number of university programs run by Preseli Partnerships around the country.

Storm stands for Situation, Target, Obstacles, Reframe and Momentum.
Dealing with seemingly unsolvable challenges can prove daunting. Andrew highlighted the value of clarifying where you are and where you want to ideally get to before attempting to come up with ways of moving forward. (Situation and Target)

Situation
One way to analyse your current situation is to consider what capital is available not just for you, but for any stakeholders who could be influenced or affected by your project.

Having identified a range of stakeholders, each member of the group chose one to focus on and considered their resources in terms of the kinds of capital listed above.
This revealed an abundance of accessible resources and some interesting insights, for instance:
NHS has many redundant rooms which could be made use of
Youth workers have essential social capital in understanding the specific needs of the young people they work with, which can be lost with cuts
Young people have strong social capital themselves, in that they are so well connected with each other, however in the eyes of the general public, their social capital may be in deficit given reputation for being trouble makers etc.
Nobody seems to have any money

Target

We then considered where we want to get to, an ideal scenario. We considered what would each stakeholder want to see happen as a result of our work.
Effective use of shared capital, ensuring stakeholders get benefit, can be a powerful way to gain momentum on a project.
We added a stakeholder here, in terms of the government, banks and big business. The people with the money. Andrew noted that someone who is responsible for ensuring profitability of a company is duty bound to invest in projects that can increase its profitability.
Therefore, if we can prove that our project can increase the various kinds capital of our investors, we are more likely to persuade them to support our project.

The exercise demonstrated that there are many ideas of how to address the problem of youth unemployment, and indeed other causes, and almost as many solutions as their are definable social problems, all worthy.

Obstacles
They all have their obstacles, but the most significant seems to be that of securing economic capital.

Reframe for Opportunites
One resource we could connect with to address this challenge could be within our university network.
How can you utilise a university's human and intellectual capital to demonstrate that essential potential return on investment for your stakeholders providing the economic capital? Can you enlist the university to help you prove they get bang for their buck?

We often think we can get no further without money, but money for what? Rather than paying for resources, is their any other way to engage other stakeholders to invest their resources by giving them a different kind of return?
If NHS bodies are sitting on vast reserves of unused space, using that space effectively, for a peppercorn rent, on projects that improve the health and vitality of the community, can help reduce costs and improve public relations for the NHS.
One way to do this would be to use it to improve the sexual health of young people for instance. If that's achievable as part of your project to engage young people in activities to improve their employability, you may have just significantly reduced the cost of delivery.

Momentum
The group departed with a model to address their own and their stakeholders capital resources, and to explore ways to leverage this more effectively to achieve their social aims.

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