Social Enterprise East of England (SEEE) and Allia made the announcement at a special launch event at the Future Business Centre in Cambridge attended by The Mayor of Cambridge, the Chairman of Cambridgeshire County Council, the Deputy Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK and representatives from many of Cambridgeshire’s social enterprises.
The awarding of Social Enterprise Place status celebrates the thriving social enterprise sector in Cambridgeshire and supports its future growth and development. SEEE estimate that there are at least 175 social enterprises in the county tackling issues such as homelessness, unemployment, disability and financial exclusion and a recent survey of these businesses showed that 55% reported growth over the last year Nick Temple, Deputy CEO of Social Enterprise UK said: “We’re proud to announce Cambridgeshire as a Social Enterprise County – a hotbed of social enterprise activity. Cambridgeshire join a number of Social Enterprises Places, which are re-injecting life into local communities and local economies across the UK, creating opportunities and wealth, often where they’re needed most. The gap between rich and poor is growing, and so the potential of social enterprise to regenerate communities and to build a more inclusive economy is something that needs to be embraced.
Lewis Herbert, Leader of Cambridge City Council said: "It is great news that Cambridgeshire has been awarded 'Social Enterprise Place' status which will provide extra support and recognition for our growing social enterprise sector. Social enterprises add unique strengths in Cambridge. They deliver community services working with councils, and increase the sustainability of the voluntary sector by running successful businesses and earning extra income, while also ensuring they deliver on their commendable social and environmental objectives too."
Martin Clark, Deputy CEO of Allia said: “There has never been a better time for anyone in Cambridgeshire wanting to start or grow a social enterprise. There is plenty of support already available from organisations including Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge Social Ventures and our own Allia Serious Impact programme, but Place status means we can be even more ambitious in our region. One of our aims will be to produce a directory of social enterprises which describes their products and services and over the next few years all of the organisations involved with this award intend to build a stronger culture in Cambridgeshire of “buying social” and social innovation.” Rachel Newell, Social Enterprise Manager of Wintercomfort spoke at the event about their two social enterprises, Overstream Clean and Food4Food which support homeless or vulnerably housed people by getting them back into work. Other social enterprises including Burwell Print and ABC Life Support showcased their products and services at a specially created marketplace.
Editors notes What is a Social Enterprise and what is Social Enterprise Day A social enterprise is a business that exists and trades not to maximise private profit, but to further their social or environmental aims. Nationwide in 2015, social enterprises contributed £24b to the economy and employed around 1 million people. National Social Enterprise day exists to give social enterprises the chance to publicise what they do, to encourage more members of the public and business owners to buy from social enterprises #Whoknew to read more social enterprise stories. Social Enterprise Place Status recognises areas, cities and towns where social enterprise is thriving.
About Allia Allia is a charitable organisation that creates positive impact for people, planet or place through enterprise. It does this by providing practical support to impact ventures and impact entrepreneurs – those organisations and individuals that aim to make positive change and address the world’s most pressing social and environmental challenges. The support on offer includes access to finance through Allia Impact Finance, access to affordable workspace for entrepreneurs, start-ups and SME’s at Allia Future Business Centres and a range of free business support including the Serious Impact programme. www.allia.org.uk www.seriousimpact.co.uk www.futurebusinesscentre.co.uk
About SEEE SEEE is the membership organisation for social enterprises in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. Working together we aim for social enterprise to be seen as a great way of doing business. www.seeeuk