Social enterprise support network to boost job hopes
Regional business leaders are hoping to boost social enterprises in an attempt to create new jobs.
The West of England Local Enterprise Partnership is setting up a special network to support social enterprises that at the moment already employ 10,000 workers.
The LEP hopes the new organisation will boost these numbers and contribute to its target of 95,000 new jobs in the area over the next 20 years.
LEP chairman and Wessex Water boss, Colin Skellett, said employment in social enterprises would play a significant part in the development of the local economy.
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He said: “Our task is to create jobs across every sector and to help businesses of all kinds to prosper and so to provide the broadest possible range of employment opportunities.”
The new Social Enterprise Network will be initially led by a group of social entrepreneurs, practitioners and support organisations including the Bristol School for Social Entrepreneurs, Social Enterprise Works, Quartet Community Foundation and UnLtd.
Chairman of Quartet Community Foundation, Stephen Parsons, said: "I am delighted that the LEP is actively supporting our drive to promote jobs growth and regeneration. Achievement of our innovative plan to develop a new social enterprise network will help both in the creation of job opportunities and also stimulate Social Value in our local communities."
The LEP has provided £15,000 funding to develop the new network and an open invitation is being made to interested people to get involved.
According to Government figures the social enterprise sector has grown quickly in recent years. In 2010 there were 62,000 organisations trading in the UK with an annual turnover of at least £24 billion. More recent data shows the sector to be growing faster than mainstream SMEs.
The network will launch at the end of March. For more information or to share ideas visit, www.socialenterpriseworks.org