Fast Social: news in/for the social economy – week 50

Cheap social finance anyone?
Cheap social finance anyone?

If the ‘social enterprise sector’ was a soap opera, it’d be Eastenders. All the ‘drama’ seems to happen in some fantastical realm of London that people rarely leave, though occasionally someone with a strange accent pops up or there’s a ‘location shot’ (a bit like when Arthur and Pauline went to Eastbourne for their ill-fated holiday).

Here’s a round-up of what went down on ‘Albert Square’ this week:

  • Darn the maaarket: the UK’s first ‘social supermaket’ launched in Goldthorpe this week in a bid to fight food poverty. The Community Shop gives local shoppers access to surplus food from supermarkets for up to 70% less. Yet Pete Beale and Martin Fowler are nowhere to be seen.
  • Strange accents heard on the square: no not Cockneys, but Yanks. USAID (the US Agency for International Development) has found 2 million big ones to support young entrepreneurs. Other than investing in young people, it was announced that the partnership will foster the growth of the social entrepreneurship sphere. Ian Beale was seen rubbing his hands together at this ‘business opportunity’
  • Unusual meeting held at Queen Vic: sounding like the beginning of a joke (an acronym walks in to a B.A.R…), the World Economic Forum (WEF) has launched the Global Learning Exchange on Social Impact Investing (GLE), in collaboration with the Impact Investing Policy Collaborative (IIPC) and the support of the UK Cabinet Office. No, I can’t wait either…
  • Out in the sticks: the whole of Cornwall is now a ‘Social Enterprise Zone’. Real Ideas Organisation and SEUK have got together to create the first rural Social Enterprise Zone in the UK.
  • Yoof of today: the Social Business Trust is providing £15,000 and four months of professional support to Young Advisors. YA are a group of over 1,300 community consultants between the ages of 15 and 21 who help organisations make evidence-based decisions on new projects for young people.
  • Family spat: ClearlySo CEO Rodney Schwartz wrote an article for Third Sector magazine on the merits of equity for social enterprises, a controversial subject on the square. The third Mitchell brother (Dan Gregory) wrote a witty response here.
  • All about the reddies: the final shape of the social investment tax relief was announced on Tuesday. This blog has more detail but basically the SITR is generally good news, though it is subject to the EU’s limits on State Aid. Furthermore, the CIC regulator has removed the dividend cap from the CIC limited by shares structure. But SEUK aren’t happy about how these changes affect companies limited by guarantee (or don’t as the case may be).



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