Social Enterprise in York: our time to shine?

JoeGardham

JoeGardham

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Social Enterprise in York: our time to shine?

The social enterprise sector in York is currently fragmented. It doesn’t know what it is. It’s made up of fiercely passionate and dedicated individuals giving their all to their particular cause. Most of the time these guys work in isolation. Many burn out. Some go back to 9-5 employment for security. Yet following covid more people than ever are setting up their own ethical enterprises, and exploring commercial ways to sustain them.

As part of our recent project with York St John University, we mapped and surveyed the sector to understand the issues we currently face, some of the barriers to engaging social enterprise leaders, and how the university and sector can mutually benefit each other.

As humans we need to feel part of something bigger. As professionals we grow and develop through our successes, failures, reflections, interactions, inspirations, peer recognition and support. There is no single space (virtual or physical) in York where this growth can take place, and no single body that has stepped forward as the leader in this field.

It’s something that has troubled me since I started Social Vision five years ago. The not-for-profit sector has the CVS, businesses have the FSB and Chamber of Commerce. We fall in the middle of these two sectors – neither network really understands or can provide the support we need.

Working alongside the awesome Jo Gibson, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the university, we presented our findings to the new Pro Vice Chancellor Rob Mortimer on Wednesday 18th March 2021. With the permission of Jo and the university, I’m going to publish our findings and my own reflections in a three-part blog series, exploring: ‘What is a social enterprise?’, ‘Who’s out here and how are we feeling?’, and ‘How can we build a high impact network?’.

If you’d like to discuss any of the findings in the report, or share your thoughts please engage with us on social media via #profitwithpurpose or email joe@social-vision.org.uk or j.gibson1@yorksj.ac.uk

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