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On 8 July 2013 - 12:24pm

Last week, I was interviewed by a PHD student whose PHD is focused on social entrepreneurship – what it is and why people do it. He asked me how I came to co-found a social enterprise in the first place. While my answer at the time probably wasn’t very interesting, considering the question did get me thinking about what it was that first started me off on my journey towards my current position as a 32-year-old grizzled veteran of the UK social enterprise scene.

It all began when, as an 18 year-old A-Level student, I got a phone call from a bloke who was putting together a TV show about urban arts. At the time, I was an up-and-coming performance poet, and the caller had got my details from The Poetry Society who’d thought I might be interested in appearing in his TV show.

At a subsequent meeting ...more

On 4 July 2013 - 3:37pm

… potential crowdfunders take an emotional decision to give you a relative small amount of their own cash based on liking what you’re trying to do. That’s one of the key advantages of crowdfunding for social ventures. It’s also one of the key disadvantagesmy latest monthly blog post for The Young Foundation.

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On 17 June 2013 - 4:32pm

… It’s clear that if enough agencies chuck enough public money in the right directions, it is possible both for some social enterprises to get bigger and other fairly big social enterprises to be created. The question is whether growing numbers of big social enterprises will automatically deliver a big (positive) social impact… ” – my latest mythbuster for The Guardian‘s Social Enterprise Network.

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On 12 June 2013 - 6:10pm

there’s plenty of bluster and over-optimism in the UK social enterprise sector, but representation of women in leadership roles is one area where the sector genuinely is doing well (or, at least, far less badly than the private sectormy latest blog post for The Young Foundation.

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On 7 June 2013 - 12:15pm

Boasting an investment of £850,000 from social investment wholesale finance institution, Big Society Capital, the Social Stock Exchange is a project that’s formed an integral part of the UK social investment bullsh!t machine for several years. While many in the social enterprise sector doubted that it would ever arrive at all, even the pessimists are likely to be disappointed by its shamelessly comical failure to deliver on either of the elements implied by its name.

At yesterday’s launch, prime minister, David Cameron, hailed the project proclaiming: “This is just the beginning… For years the London Stock Exchange has made London the home for private finance. Today London can cement its place as the home ...more

On 3 June 2013 - 12:29pm

I can’t help but think this throws into question whether the voluntary sector should describe itself very differently, in a way that actually reflects its changing makeup and the fact that so many charities and other voluntary sector organisations are viable businesses… 

So says Social Enterprise UK (SEUK) chief executive, Peter Holbrook, writing for Pioneers Post in reaction to survey results published by his organisation last week showing charities’ ...more

On 22 May 2013 - 12:16am

Like the Queen, social investment wholesale finance institution Big Society Capital (BSC) has at least two birthdays. So, while I wished them many happy returns in April, the celebrations have continued well into May.

The outward facing side of things is going pretty well with the Prime Minister, David Cameron, preparing to spend some of the next year telling his G8 colleagues about what, in political terms at least, seems like the proverbial silver bullet. And given that the rest of the meetings will mostly be ...more

On 15 May 2013 - 11:32am

More or less everyone involved in social enterprise agrees that demonstrating your impact is really important but not very many are actually doing it… my latest mythbuster for The Guardian‘s Social Enterprise Network.

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On 13 May 2013 - 2:41pm

If you’ve attended a social enterprise event during the last year, you’ll probably be aware that ‘social investment’, which for ages was ‘the next big thing’, has finally become ‘the big thing’… my latest blog post for The Young Foundation – a report from Social Enterprise Yorkshire & The Humber‘s social investment conference, Working Capital.

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On 10 May 2013 - 7:57pm

Sports funding is far harder to come by since the Olympics.  Government cash for table tennis, cut from £1.2million before London 2012 to zero now, is a prime example of this grimmer new reality. Fortunately, it’s not all bad news for UK table tennis enthusiasts because the government is still putting lots of cash into supporting digital start-ups.

The exciting black table tennis table is just one striking feature of the shiny home of Wayra Unltd, the new digital accelerator ‘focused on start-ups that make a positive social impact’ which was launched in London this week.

Wayra Unltd was one of two bids funded in February’s first round of funding from the government’s Social Incubator Fund, with fellow tech ...more