Smart Communities – Creating a new Social Enterprise Network for Somerset
The Smart Communities team are working to develop this network to help social enterprises across the county to flourish and for the sector to grow.
The Heart of the South West Enhance Social Enterprise Programme is receiving funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural & Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.
This funding created the :
Enhance Social Enterprise Network Devon & Somerset
The Enhance Social Enterprise Network Devon & Somerset programme is a partnership of:
- Devon Communities Together (DCT), covering the rural Devon area
- ESSENCE of Exeter CIC, covering Exeter
- Plymouth Social Enterprise Network (PSEN), covering Plymouth
- Local Spark: Torbay Community Supported Enterprise, covering Torbay
- Smart Communities Ltd (of Community Council of Somerset), covering Somerset.
What is a social enterprise?
Social enterprises are businesses that are changing the world for the better. Like traditional businesses they aim to make a profit but it’s what they do with their profits that sets them apart – reinvesting or donating them to create positive social change. Social enterprises are in our communities and on our high streets – from coffee shops and cinemas, to pubs and leisure centres, banks and bus companies. Famous examples include Big Issue, Divine Chocolate and the Eden Project. In Somerset we have some excellent social enterprises making really difference to our communities, this includes Rusty Road 2 Recovery in Bridgwater, Minehead Eye, the Great Western Hotel in Taunton, the Red Brick Building in Glastonbury and The Hub Yeovil, and all our community run shops and village halls.
What are we going to do:
- Run training events, visits and networking opportunities to meet the needs of new and developing social enterprises. These will be spread across the county. There will also be events that our Devon colleagues are organising that are open to Somerset.
- Create a useful membership offer for the network so we create a network that keeps going and growing after the funding is gone.
- Promote social enterprise to policy makers and commissioners.
- Create a new website with a searchable database to facilitate business to business selling, public procurement and business to customer selling
The project will be live in November 2019 – we will then be accepting membership applications.
Membership to the network will be free for the first year, as we are funded by the ERDF. To take advantage of this complete the below form and we will let you know as soon as the programme is live.
You can also email the team: EnhanceSEN@Somersetrcc.org.uk