Celebration of Social Enterprise Day in Devon
14:17 November 8, 2021
November 11 is Social Enterprise Day, a day to celebrate the impact and achievements of social enterprises in the UK and around the world.
A Devon charity is supporting this growing sector in the region by offering free business coaching to start-ups and small businesses, including social enterprises.
Devon Communities Together is an independent charity that supports people and communities across Devon. It currently offers free business coaching to start-ups as part of its New Start Devon program, which receives funding from the European Regional Development Fund.
New Start Devon Enterprise Coaching offers 12 free hours of individual and group coaching to help people develop their business idea or grow their business. Contact Hannah Reynolds of Devon Communities Together on 07985 488177 if you would like to know more.
Nationally, there are 100,000 social enterprises in the country which contribute £ 60 billion to the economy and employ around 2 million people. These are companies created to trade for social and / or environmental purposes, reinvesting the majority of their profits to create more impact.
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They operate in all sectors of the economy, from coffee carts creating jobs for homeless people and employee-owned cleaning communities to community-owned renewable energy projects and social care providers. Regionally, there are over 2,150 social enterprises in Devon alone.
Devon Communities Together facilitates the Devon Rural Social Enterprise Network, with around 150 members comprising small businesses based in rural Devon.
One of the members is WayMakers, a community interest company (CIC) based in North Devon, which is passionate about improving neurodiversity opportunities, outcomes and inclusion for people with autism, which ‘they are diagnosed or not.
When asked what it means to be a social enterprise for WayMakers, Alex Kelly, Founder and Director, said: “Choosing to be a social enterprise was obvious to me: by definition, a social enterprise is run by people. guiding principles of achieving impact above all and therefore by existing as such, we carry our values with pride and visibility.
“WayMakers exists for the good of our community of customers and their families and to fulfill a passion for equity, inclusion and opportunity. Our job is to connect with individuals, gain a complete picture of them as whole people, and together find the right stepping stones that will take them to where they want to go in life.
Recent figures from Social Enterprise UK have shown that despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, social enterprises are a thriving and resilient part of the economy.
They outperform traditional companies in terms of growth and innovation with a 44% increase in turnover and a remarkable 66% introduction of a new product or service in the last year (compared to 23% of all companies). Social enterprises are also more representative of the communities they serve and more diverse in terms of women and minority ethnic leaders.
Social enterprises have also been at the heart of community responses to the COVID pandemic. Many have pivoted their business models to continue supporting their communities; building vital food delivery services, readjusting services to deal with distancing requirements, and being on the front line in supporting people with COVID.
Social Enterprise Day is an opportunity to recognize social enterprises across the country and their contribution to their communities. As part of the day, Devon Communities Together is participating in Social Enterprise UK’s #WhoKnew campaign, a digital campaign designed to showcase the impact of the sector and the stories of the people these companies support and employ.
For more information on DCT’s business support services, visit: www.devoncommunities.org.uk/services/enterprise-support or follow @DevComsTogether (Twitter), @DevonCommsTogether (Instagram) and @DevonCommunitiesTogether (Facebook and LinkedIn).