Thursday, March 06, 2008

Glimmers of sense, if not hope

Crunch time for social enterprises

A great piece, with some excellent links. Thank you.

A few years back I was invited as a guest at one of these shindigs. Usual suspects. Different minister. Same platitudes.

I wasn't there (see below), but one thing that I do sense has not moved on is the acknowledgement of those in high office of the sheer breadth and scope that can be brought under this vast umbrella that is 'social enterprise', or even if anyone has yet managed to come up with a decent definition of what one actually is. Maybe that is the problem, there cannot be 'one'. Especially as we all, inevitably, end up competing to survive.

Because I for one find it very hard to lump together those doing invaluable work with, say, drug addicted street kids - which by any measure hardly seems a consumer group likely to lead to a self-sustaining business model any time soon - and compare it with what I'm up to. And that can have an effect. It does often rather feel that the truly vocational are also placed side by side with those who have a for-profit model when it comes to awards and funding, but with unspoken agendas at play which can lead to vast commitments of time and funds which often stand no chance of success from the off.

I had a rummage and some might find this - a purely personal view from one at the sharp (and, it seems, usually wrong) end interesti... well, another view, at least:

There is a lot of good to be done, and businesses to be run, successfully, doing it, but I do fear that at the moment the thrust of support and guidance given is not from the best qualified or able, and even if with the best intentions, perhaps not with the best results. Especially in terms of value for money/ROI to those doing the investing or those in theory intended to benefit.


SEC - Response to BERR's enterprise strategy

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