There is a lot of support out there for social enterprises. This video brings together some good examples of organisations that are supporting social enterprises worldwide. My name is Paula Woodman, I’m the Senior Advisor for the Global Social Enterprise Program at the British Council, and my role really is to advice and support our Country Teams, who are active on social enterprise. The British Council exists in order to support really positive connections between people globally. So we want to have a friendly knowledge and understanding of each other globally, the idea of people-to-people connection. And social enterprise is a really good area to do that with. So our program is currently in 28 countries.
So that means in 28 countries we have offices and staff who are very much active on social enterprise everyday. The areas we work in, we have Policy and Government Engagement. So the British Council is quite uniquely placed to engage policy makers, and other influences for government and to have a discussion around the role of social enterprise, and what they can do, to really open up and create a flourishing eco-system for social enterprise. We also do capacity building, and that is where we try and work with local partners on the ground, infrastructure organisations who want to support social enterprise, but perhaps want to expand what they can do, expand their skills and their expertise and work in new ways.
And we can help them to do that. We connect them with other expertise, from the UK to work on things together and enable that sharing, learning, of expertise. We then also work on education systems. Because young people, really are taking social enterprise to a new level, and for that reason we think working with the education systems. So higher education, vocational education and schools. We think there’s a great potential to reach those emerging social entrepreneurs and to provide them with the support through those existing systems. I’m Alastair Wilson, I’m the Chief Executive of the School for Social Entrepreneurs.
We think that peer learning in cohorts, with people who are going through a similar journey is really important, in terms of getting to grips with some of the softer skills behind entrepreneurship. Things like confidence, attitude, mindset, behavior, persistence, legitimacy, these things you can’t teach them, but you can learn them by doing them, and you can learn them from peers and practitioners. So we brew our courses on whenever we have 20 people all at the same level, so whether is start-up, or trade up, or scale up levels and they come in cohorts of 20, and they hear from practitioners who’ve been there, seen and done it, and they learn from their mistakes.
And whilst they are together, they are together for about nine days over a period of nine months. and they hear from each other as to how their projects are progressing, or not progressing, and therefore they can reflect on what short of leadership behaviors are working or not working. I am Katherine Danton, I’m Director of Strategy and Influence for UnLtd. We’re a foundation for social entrepreneurs and we work in the UK, that’s our main focus, supporting around about 13.000 social entrepreneurs directly or through our many partners. We really recognise the different stages of an individual’s journey.
They need a different level of support, different type of support, and also just different amounts of funding to help them to first of all start. So, we do a small number of what we call ‘Try it Awards’. So, Try it Awards are a very small amount of money, about £500 to allow them to do market testing or maybe try out a particular new service, and see whether it takes. Then we give what we describe as a ‘Do it Award’. So, Do it Awards are all about helping them do it. So they might have done the market testing, you know, they are ready to make their idea a reality, they might need a bit more ground funding.
Again, they might not feel ready to take on a loan, but a little bit of funding would help them to buy that van, or you know, be able to invest on some training materials or whatever it is that they need. We do find that with those different social business models there are going to be different types of specialist support they might need, different access to different types of mentors, or networks. But all of them need a bit of, you know, sounding board. At every point in time, when you’re trying to pivot or change, or develop what you’re trying to do you’re always going to need someone to talk to. So that’s something that UnLtd.
you know, really really values and tries to do as much as possible. UnLtd has what is currently called ‘The Big Venture Challenge’, which really provides support at the kind of crucial stages before the social investment piece, to really trying to ensure that those social entrepreneurs are ready to take on that social investment. And then we work with partners, to be able to introduce them to social investors. And we might give a small amount of ground funding to be able to leverage in those resources. And then we’ll also give them ongoing support to be able to follow through and build up their social venture, to deliver impactful scale. Pioneers Post is a magazine, it’s also a social enterprise in itself.
It was set up to provide social entrepreneurs with practical business advice, as well as updates from the social enterprise, social investment, and responsible business sphere. Pioneers Post is both online and a printed magazine, with tons of resources on things like basic business advice, from how you manage your staff, to marketing and expertise, as well as reporting on kind of the latest developments in policy and in for example deals within the social investment sector. Pioneers Post supports social enterprises in two ways. Firstly through our business school, where we provide practical business advice for social entrepreneurs and people working within social enterprises. That advice ranges from how to get funding, investment, to marketing and communication strategies.
The other way that we support the sector is by being a champion of it. So we raise awareness through our news, stories, features, films, social media, to kind of educate as many people as possible, about what social enterprise is and what its mission is.