(Un)employment, growth and partnerships – a month in the life of the Social Entrepreneurs Network
It has been a busy start to the ‘new school term’ (does that feeling ever go?) at the RSA and in the Fellowship Programme team.
In early September, we have had the launch of RSA Action and Research Centre (RSA ARC formerly the RSA Projects team) which included workshops, one of which bought together 50 entrepreneurs under the age of 30 discussing the challenges facing the millennial generation, RSA Events and a special Social Entrepreneurs breakfast. Sam Thomas, Project Engagement Manager blogged throughout the week so you can catch up on some of the activities which took place. The Social Entrepreneurs breakfast focused on youth employment, a topic on everyone’s lips at the moment, and was led by Matt Lent FRSA. One of the outcomes of the breakfast was that social enterprises have more responsibility and patience to give people those much needed employment opportunities. You can watch the video of the event below:
These discussions will continue at the next breakfast, taking place next week Friday 26th October at 9am, hosted by Fellow, Colin Crooks. Remember the Friday Social breakfasts take place the last Friday of each month and it’s worth a visit so hope to see you there one day.
The next event was the quarterly event from the RSA’s Social Enterprise Spotlight programme (part of the Social Entrepreneurs network). The events focus on the challenges being faced by those social enterprises in the Spotlight programme, using them as the case study and by extension helping the rest of the network learn, develop and make contacts. The focus this time was ‘the foundations of growth’, looking at: sales, creating a scalable business model, getting your operations in place, getting the right skills and advice, and how incubators can help growth. We were lucky enough to have Dai Powell, Chief Executive of the HCT group, join us to do the keynote speech. He gave an engaging and highly relevant talk, making a couple of key points; firstly profit is good, without it you can’t function (often the word profit is a dirty word amongst the social enterprise sector but he said in no uncertain terms that this is not the case) and secondly to get really really good at what you do ie. “if you do buses, get really good at buses”. View the event outcomes on the online group for the Social Entrepreneurs Network. The event was held in association at the amazing space Ravensbourne College, an incubator and HE establishment.
Dai gave an engaging and highly relevant talk, making a couple of key points; firstly profit is good, without it you can’t function and secondly to make sure you get really really good at what you do ie. “if you do buses, get really good at buses”.
Part two will be another event looking at growth and branding/culture. This will be in January, again held at Ravensbourne so look out for this in due course.
We also had our regular Friday Social breakfast at the end of September. This was led by Maria Ana Neves (who is an RSA Spotlighter and Catalyst winner) from Plan Zheroes, a social enterprise looking to reduce food waste through linking catering establishments and charities. She was joined by a group of Fellows who devised a game to explore partnerships, why you should (or shouldn’t) work with someone, and the pitfalls of potential partnerships. There was a lot of energy in the room so watch out for future iterations of this game.
As you can see there’s lots going on and activity still to come so visit the Social Entrepreneurs Network, get involved in the discussions and I hope to see you at a future event.
Fellowship Communications and Events Manager (and social enterprise enthusiast!)