Back in March, I (Lauren) was lucky enough to be given a Spark Award from UnLtd and Santander UK, an award scheme set up to encourage social entrepreneurs to share knowledge and facilitate peer-to-peer support and learning.
Knowing first-hand how valuable this type of support and learning can be, I applied for a Spark Award to create Doing Things Differently – a social enterprise network for Worthing.
Setting up a social enterprise poses difficulties different to, at one end, a traditional business and at the other, a charity. Many of the issues I have faced so far can only be described as ‘grey’ and I have encountered more than one person who looks at me like I am nuts: we have a clear social mission, reinvest our profits into achieving this social mission, but bring in our income through the selling of goods and services (which we want to do lots of, more profit = more social impact).
I know there are a lot social entrepreneurs in Worthing and I imagine there are even more toying with the idea of becoming one. What we lack though is a network to unite us all, a means to share knowledge, to encourage dialogue, enable skill-sharing and promote peer-to-peer learning.
Doing Things Differently will do just this – facilitate the building of relationships that will allow those going through similar ups and downs to inspire and encourage one another through the exchange of ideas and a network of support.
The Spark Award will help support the first year of the network though six bi-monthly events kicking off in September 2014. These events will lay the foundations of the network, bringing together local social entrepreneurs and starting something wonderful, with the aim of sustaining the network into the long-term and inspiring other budding entrepreneurs in the town to take on the social enterprise model.
Interested in Doing Things Differently? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call on 07983459588.