Welcome to the place were those working in, wanting to start or support social enterprise in Swindon can learn, talk and collaborate.
Have you ever bought the Big Issue? Read it over a bar of Divine chocolate with a cup of Cafédirect coffee? Visited the Eden Project? Shopped at the Co-op?
Well, then you may know more than you realise about social enterprises. Social enterprises are businesses that are changing the world for the better. 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.
The core principle is that economic activity should work for the common good, rather than the unlimited private gain of a few.
This aligns social enterprise within the broader cultural objective of changing the way society operates. The following are some of the values and behaviours that are expected of social enterprises:
Social enterprises are businesses founded on fundamental core values; that social fairness and the protection of the planet should be pre-conditions of all economic activity with all business practices expected to be honest and fair.
They are good employers; trying to offer a good workplace experience, aiming to pay a ‘living wage’, and having flatter pay structures than the private sector.
Within the common sense of running a business social enterprises try to help and support one another. They should also, where possible, encourage the practice of intra-trading i.e. procuring from within the sector itself.
From Co-ops and Mutuals, social enterprises have learned about and implement common ownership and democratic governance.
From Development Trusts and the community business movement, social enterprises have learned about bottom up responses to social problems and how they empower local communities.