News



Balance in the news again...

We've just heard that Balance, a service transformation that came out of Geof Cox Associates' work with the Royal Borough of Kingston, has now been successful in securing the Learning Disability provider services in Kingston through an open tender exercise.

This will mean a big expansion for what was formerly the Kingston Council Workstart & Asperger Syndrome Service, now a unique social enterprise joint venture between the local staff and Pure Innovations - which itself came out of Stockport Council several years ago, and which already runs learning disability services in the North West and elsewhere.

At the time of the spin out Geof Cox commented that he was "particularly proud of this service transformation because it provides an important model for small teams that want to take control of their own destiny, but might struggle to meet ongoing public sector pension costs without the support of a larger partner organisation".  Now the robustness of this joint venture model is becoming evident, with about 5 times the current staff numbers set to transfer into Balance in June.



New EU procurement rules to favour social enterprise

The European Parliament has approved a new set of procurement rules which are expected to come into force in the UK by mid-2014.
They include measures to encourage public sector commissioners to break up procurement into smaller contracts and to give more regard to social value when tendering out contracts.
Most importantly for public service transformations to social enterprise, they will create a protected period for social enterprise spin-outs during which they will not have to compete with other bidders.



CIC Regulator recommends removal of individual dividend caps...

Following the recent consultation on social investment tax relief, the CIC Regulator has recommended that the maximum dividend per share cap should be removed, but the maximum aggregate dividend cap retained at 35%.

This development has enormous significance for the realisation of 'sweat equity' for social entrepreneurs from poorer backgrounds, who invest time but have no money behind them - widely seen as a key problem with the CIC form with regard to social justice, and pointed out in the original and subsequent consultations in responses written by Geof Cox Associates, for example for Social Firms UK.

It also removes the technical anomaly cramping the transaction market for CIC Shares - that the link to original sum invested inevitably led investors to prefer new to existing shares.

The Regulator has also recommended that the maximum rate for performance related interest should be increased from 10% to 20%.

Word on the streets is that the recommendations will be implemented around October, and will be retrospective (ie. apply to all shares, not just new shares).

All of the recommendations reflect the views of Share CICs themselves, as advocated by the CIC Association.

Download the full document here.

Note:
The CIC Regulator will be running a workshop at the NCVO offices in London on the morning of Tuesday 4 March 2014.   If you are interested in attending can please contact cicregulator@companieshouse.gov.uk by Friday 31 January.   I would advise that you contact her as soon as possible as places will be limited and they will be allocated on a first come first served basis.



What will social enterprise look like in Europe by 2020?

The British Council has published an interesting new vision of the future of social enterprise.

"There may well not be a recognisable ‘social enterprise sector’ by 2020Certainly any attempts to confine social enterprise to specific legal structures or models of governance will have ceased. But the concepts and ideals of social enterprise will be spreading rapidly into all corners of society,  becoming mainstream.  All organisations, whatever their ownership model, will be judged on a spectrum of social impact."

Download the full document here.



Big Lottery to launch new community enterprise fund...

The Big Lottery is to launch a new £150million fund in 2014 specifically targeted at community-led enterprises and kick starting community action across England.  The big question is whether Share Community Interest Companies will be elegible for funding - they are currently excluded from some Big Lottery funds, but from the information released to date it looks as though they will be able to apply to the new fund.

Download Big Lottery's initial briefing on the new fund here.



Seminars for social enterprise advisers in North East England...

Are you an adviser called on to help set up or grow social enterprise? - and would you like to improve your ability to find the optimal organisational structure for your clients?


Geof Cox Associates ran seminars in North East England in early December on behalf of the North East Social Enterprise Partnership, aimed at developing a network and resources to embed organisational structure development expertise in the social enterprise support infrastructure in the region.  The Newcastle and Gateshead event were both over-subscribed, so we hope to repeat them in 2014.


Seminar 1developing your ability to find the optimal organisational structure - Darlington on 2 December 2013 (Teesside University (Darlington Campus), and Newcastle on 4 December (The Beacon, Westgate Road, Newcastle) - buffet Lunch at 12noon followed by a working afternoon, finish by 5pm.

This seminar explored the knowledge and resources required to give excellent advice on structuring and restructuring social enterprise and explained NESEP's plans for a sustainable expert network.


Seminar 2community share issues, how and why? - 3 December 2013 in Gateshead (Gateshead Advice Centre) - buffet Lunch at 12noon followed by a working afternoon, finish by 4pm.

Although aimed primarily at advisors, this seminar was open to anyone interested in financing social enterprise by raising money from the public.  It was led by Dave Hollings, whose consultancy, CMS, advised on the renowned community buyout of the UK’s first co-operative pub, the Old Crown at Hesket Newmarket, and went on to advise a number of other community buy-outs and social enterprise start-ups financed by share issues, and also by Geof Cox, who outlined his work with the CIC Association on guidance and model documentation to enable Community Interest Companies to more easily raise share investment from their 'community of interest'.


 

 



miEnterprise Herefordshire wins RBS Inspiring Enterprise award...

miEnterprise Herefordshire was one of only 10 winners - out of 200 applicants - of RBS funding for its project with disabled students at its local special school.

More details here!



WORKAROUND:
self-employment, self-management, and new notions of work
...

I promised at this event to post here the sources of the statisitcs I used in my speech:


  • the total number of social enterprises in the UK is 688,000
  • the sector employs more than 2 million people, including half a million sole traders
  • social enterprises are estimated to have total annual incomes of £163 billion a year

 - all of these figures are from the May 2013 UK Cabinet Office paper Social Enterprise: Market Trends


  • 1 in 3 of of all businesses in development want to be social enterprises

 - from Dr Rebecca Harding's research for Delta Economics Social Entrepreneurship in the UK 2008 - also the conclusion of research for UnLtd the same year


  • 1 in 3 entrepreneurs have primarily social motives

 - Global Entrepreneurship Monitor United Kingdom 2004, also by Dr Harding


  • the figure that 1 in 3 MBA students do not put profit at the top of their priorities is taken from the work of Dr Rory Ridley-Duff - who is currently looking for the original research source for me


  • over half of the income of UK NGOs is earned income (over ¾ in some regions)

 - The Economic Contribution of Voluntary Organisations, NCVO, November 2012


  • 45% of registered charities currently identify themselves as social enterprises and 92% want to increase earned income

 - 2013 paper by Social Enterprise UK


  • the growth rate in the numbers of Community Interest Companies in the UK is exponential

 - Regulator of Community Interest Companies Annual Report 2011/2012


  • all of the figures on the growth of micro-businesses and decline of large firms in the UK were taken from the current UK Government Department for Business, Innovation & Skills Annual Business Population Estimates


  • the quotation from Simon Wicks - "The major business trend of the last few years is the regeneration of the cottage industry economic model" - is from the Enterprise Nation website which he edits.


 


WORKAROUND:
self-employment, self-management, and new notions of work...

3-day Symposium, October 18-20 2013, Berlin          more details here

Geof Cox was a keynote speaker at this event, considering the relationship between social enterprise, self-employment and new notions of work.

For many reasons, including the increasing complexity of both machines and societies, there is ever greater demand for individual expertise, and at the same time the potential, via the internet, for experts to work together in 'collaborative communities', or in networked organisations (what might be called 'dis-organisations').  These are among the factors driving the growth of self-employment and decline in the numbers of large firms.  The future is micro!

Social enterprise has embraced these trends, and is developing new organisational structures that enable these new ways of working, and which might, in the long run, out-compete firm-based organisational models.  It works alongside environmentalism, because it respects equally the local and the global, rather than working at the level of the national or multi-national.

Is this actually how capitalism concludes? - not with revolution or planned economy, but back to the future of a technologically enabled artisanal market?

 


Big Society Capital's Response to the Social Investment Tax Relief Consultation...

Download here.  Probably the most important section is on the CIC Dividend and Interest Caps, p.17-20.



Together - An International Social Enterprise Development Programme...

From late October 2013     Paris residential 25-27 November 2013

Social Enterprise Europe have been working with the Education & Solidarity Network and the French education mutual MGEN (Mutuelle Générale de l'Education Nationale) to create an opportunity for community leaders to gain a profound understanding of how to develop successful social enterprise to animate their local communities and address the key problems they face.

Together FlyerTogether Flyer

We are bringing together a group of 20 people from at least 10 countries, around the world.  The only qualifications are an ability to work in English and a passion to help your community shape its own future through its own enterprise.

The programme consists of 3 elements:

  1. A preparatory phase from late October 2013 during which you will use online tools to gain an overview of how communities throughout the world are using business models to solve social and environmental problems.  During this online phase you will also introduce yourself and your proposed project to the other programme participants, and learn about them and their project.
  2. A 3-day training conference in Paris, 25th-27th November 2013.  You will never again learn so much in 3 days.  The first 2 days will be a residential training conference on practical social enterprise development skills and techniques; the third an open day in the centre of Paris, where you will meet and present your project to other social entrepreneurs and potential supporters.
  3. From then on you will be part of the online community of developers that will help you implement your project.  This will include mutual support from other participants, online one-to-one mentoring from the programme leaders, and access to further training and development resources, including funding and other useful contacts, as required.

We intend to run this programme at least once every year, so the online community of developers will continue to grow.  Applicants unsuccessful this year may be offered a place in 2014.  The cost is 2,000€, but the first 10 places available for 900€.  The price includes:

  • membership of the community of developers
  • online training programme
  • online mentoring
  • participation, accommodation (4 nights), meals and transfers for the Paris training days

You will need to meet your own costs of travel to Paris (though we may be able to help with this).

For more information contact Geof Cox



All-Party Parliamentary Group for Entrepreneurship International Symposium...

I promised at this event to post here the sources of the statisitcs I used in my speech:

  • the total number of social enterprises is 688,000
  • the sector employs more than 2 million people, including half a million sole traders
  • social enterprises are estimated to have total annual incomes of £163 billion a year

 - all of these figures are from the May 2013 Cabinet Office paper Social Enterprise: Market Trends

  • 1 in 3 of of all businesses in development want to be social enterprises

 - from Dr Rebecca Harding's research for Delta Economics Social Entrepreneurship in the UK 2008 - also the conclusion of research for UnLtd the same year

  • 1 in 3 entrepreneurs have primarily social motives

 - Global Entrepreneurship Monitor United Kingdom 2004, also by Dr Harding

  • the figure that 1 in 3 MBA students do not put profit at the top of their priorities is taken from the work of Dr Rory Ridley-Duff - who is currently looking for the original research source for me
  • over half of the income of NGOs is earned income (over ¾ in some regions)

 - The Economic Contribution of Voluntary Organisations, NCVO, November 2012

  • 45% of registered charities currently identify themselves as social enterprises and 92% want to increase earned income

 - 2013 paper by Social Enterprise UK

  • the growth rate in the numbers of Community Interest Companies is exponential

 - Regulator of Community Interest Companies Annual Report 2011/2012.




miEnterprise in Scottish Government's new learning disability strategy...

Thomas is a man of many skills - baker, gardener, photographer, but he has never had a job.  Because Thomas has learning disabilities he has spent much of his life in institutions.  Now he has his own flat, an allotment, and is about to launch his own micro-business - Thomas's Cakes.  He will be supported in this partly by his ELCAP support staff but mainly by miEnterprise Lothian, a Community Interest Company set up, with support from ELCAP, in August 2012, based on a model developed in Hereford.

In December 2012 miEnterprise Lothian did some test trading in the form of a Christmas Fair. Thomas made a selection of Christmas cakes, which sold out, as did his hyacinth and cyclamen planters.  He is almost ready to exploit his skills commercially because miEnterprise Lothian has helped him develop a business plan, identify a route to market for his products and helped him to work out how to price his wares.  It has also organised insurance, banking and tax arrangements, and will provide ongoing support with budgeting, book-keeping and accounts.

Thomas belongs to the miEnterprise Lothian Business Club.  Other members of the club are preparing to follow him down the pathway to trading.  Nicola has just negotiated the use of space at a local community centre to prepare and package soaps and other toiletries for sale.  These also sold well at the Christmas Fair.  Nicola plans to trade as Soap Queen and has a business plan nearly ready.

The keys to life - Improving Quality of Life for People with Learning Disabilities



CIC caps included in consultation on social investment tax relief...

The government have included the CIC caps in the consultation on social investment tax relief.



Durham Creatives

Arts & Social Enterprise...

4 June 2013 / 10:00 am - 4:00 pm / Town Hall, Durham

Geof Cox was one of the speakers at this event for creative practitioners to explore how social enterprise can support and broaden their practice and create real social value, and was on hand to advise half a dozen creative practitioners on setting up the optimal organisational structure for their work.  

More information here



Seminar - Organisational Structure Development for Social Enterprise...

5th June 2013   Buffet Lunch: 12.00   Seminar: 12.30pm - 4.30pm   Newcastle upon Tyne

This seminar explored how to embed organisational structure development expertise in the social enterprise support infrastructure in North East England.  It was designed for development workers involved in delivering support to start-up or restructuring social enterprise.

For more information contact Geof Cox



April 2013 - the launch of Balance...

Balance, formerly the Kingston Council Workstart & Asperger Syndrome Service, is a unique joint venture between the local staff and Pure Innovations - which itself came out of Stockport Council several years ago.

Geof Cox Associates are particularly proud of this service transformation because it provides an important model for small teams that want to take control of their own destiny, but might struggle to meet ongoing public sector pension costs without the support of a larger partner organisation.



FairShares Association Founders & Supporters Meeting...

Friday 10 May 2013 5-7pm, Sheffield Business School, Stoddart Building, Arundel Gate, Sheffield S1 1WB - further details here.



Great new video from miEnterprise Lothian...

View it here!

miEnterprise is going down a storm in Scotland, thanks largely to our partnership with Elcap.

miEnterprise Lothian has been working quietly with 'earning disabled' people for some months, and at the same time we've been talking to the Scottish Government about developing an infrastructure body to support replication across Scotland - so at the official launch of miEnterprise Lothian we were also able to announce 3-year Government Funding for roll-out across Scotland.



FairShares LogoFairShares Logo


Fairshares Association Launch...

Yesterday’s Co-operatives Yorkshire & Humber AGM & Conference saw the public launch of 'a new brand and model of social enterprise': FairShares.

This new model had a long incubation in the minds of some of the most experienced social-enterprisers around, and is designed specifically to resolve some of the shortcomings of other legal structures where both multi-stakeholder financial participation needs to be combined with open and participatory management, and a balance also needs to be struck between preserving the mission of a social enterprise, and the assets built up by past participants, but also giving current participants the freedom to develop the mission and use the assets in response to new challanges.  A tall order! - and it is hoped that lots of contributors will get on board and help to improve the solutions the founders have developed so far.

The approaches employed in the model can be adapted to Company, Society, Community Interest Company, Partnership and other legal frameworks - indeed we are already working internationally with other legal incorporation arrangments.

The FairShares Association was formed by Rory Ridley-Duff (Sheffield Business School), Cliff Southcombe (Social Enterprise Europe), Geof Cox (Geof Cox Associates), Nicci Dickins (MIH Consultancy), Emma Green (Co-operative & Social Enterprise Support) and Morgan Killick (ESP Projects).  You can find out how to get involved there, or there's a FairShares Wiki for those who want to get stuck in to development work.

There's also a Facebook Page, a Linked-In Group and Twitter too!



Guardian Live Discussion: Britain's USP in social enterprise...

Geof Cox was one of the expert panelists in the Guardian Live Discussion on what the UK social enterprise movement can offer the rest of the world - Friday 25th January.  This was be Geof's first media outing as an associate of Social Enterprise Europe, who he is working with to establish an office in France.



North East Social Enterprise Partnership Conference...

Cheshire Cat

The North East Social Enterprise Partnership Conference was held on Friday 11th January 2013 at The Customs House in South Shields, Tyne & Wear.  The theme this year was 'in business for good'.  Read my blog piece on the Conference here.

Geof Cox spoke on public and voluntary sector service transformation:

'On one level social enterprise – using business models and methods to achieve a philanthropic purpose – is a deceptively simple idea.  But what devils might lie in the detail of implementing a social enterprise business model? - and how can public or voluntary sector bodies, with their specific histories and organisational cultures, actually become more entrepreneurial?

'Geof Cox Associates have worked for many years on the transformation of a wide variety of private, public and voluntary sector bodies for social enterprise, and in this session will share key insights and practical approaches to successfully implementing structural and cultural change.'


 

Read more on 2012 and other not-so-recent stories in the News archive

 

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