Social Enterprise Acumen CIC provides support to existing and start-up social enterprises. It inspires individuals and organisations to explore the feasibility of using enterprise to tackle social problems. It supports them in creating sustainable social enterprises. Services include practical resources, workshops, coaching, consultancy, research and inspirational talks.
Social Enterprise Acumen enables creative thinking, facilitates understanding, encourages constructive action and fosters a “can do attitude”. It has a proven record in motivating and enabling individuals and communities to create sustainable and lasting positive social change.
Social Impact Declaration: Social-Impact-Declaration_Social-Enterprise-Acumen.pdf
Social Impact Statements:
Social Impact Statements
The Social Enterprise Mark criteria includes a requirement that the applicant can demonstrate that social and/or environmental objectives are being achieved.
In support of this, new applicants and renewing Mark holders must submit Social Impact Statements that summarise their headline activities and achievements, helping show how they are striving to make a difference and stand up to scrutiny of purpose as a social enterprise.
1) Delivering support for social entrepreneurs
We deliver support for social entrepreneurs to help them to develop their ideas and turn them into sustainable social enterprises. We do this through coaching, training, small grant awards and membership of our social entrepreneurs network.
We won a contract with UnLtd to run the Lead the Change programme across North East England and also delivered training students in secondary schools, universities, housing associations and community centres.
We also support organisations to become more socially enterprising through consultancy, including social impact measurement, investment readiness, strategic and business planning.
We delivered support on Social Impact Readiness through the Cabinet Office Impact Readiness Fund.
For 18 months, from April 2013 to September 2015, we ran an ESF Co-financed National Offender Management Service capacity building contract to support the development of a consortium of social enterprises in order to enable them to deliver contracts with the agencies of the Ministry of Justice. This has been classified as grant funding in our accounts but is a contract won competitively.
We also worked with another consortium in Cumbria to bring 5 organisations together an develop their capacity to deliver.
We worked on two contracts with groups of special schools to establish the feasibility of setting up social enterprises to provide employment opportunities for people with learning disabilities and produced a report which can be used as a business case for further funding.
We also worked in Redcar delivering support with business planning through training and coaching for individuals from a very disadvantaged area.
We also carried out a piece of research for Tees Valley UnLtd into the social investment market in the Tees Valley .
2) Measures of activity
In 2014/15, we delivered social enterprise training to 325 people across the five universities in the North East, Wakefield High School, Apollo Studio, Northstar Housing and the Millin Centre, all of which was delivered pro-bono by our Chief Executive.
We supported 60 early stage social entrepreneurs and a further 25 people who are at a development stage for their social enterprises.
We calculated that we contributed an additional value of £16,000 to the £12,500 of support funding in the contract for this work.
We supported a total of 14 organisations in the two consortia and delivered training to over 70 of their staff against the organisational training needs we identified as part of the project.
We worked with 4 organisations to support them with social impact measurement and in all cases enabled them to develop their theory of change, an outcomes framework, agree measures and either put in new tracking systems or upgrade existing systems to enable them to produce a social impact report.
Through our work in Redcar we supported 60 individuals to develop their business plans for self-employment as community based entrepreneurs.
3) Outcomes of activities
We were still at an early stage in developing our outcomes at the year end of June 2015, as we are still a comparatively new business. However, we do know that we have made a difference in the confidence of our social entrepreneurs, enabling 85% of them to start their enterprise and, for those at the development stage, to grow their businesses by on average 50% in turnover and with an increase in staffing of 10 people across the 25 businesses.
The training with students asked for feedback, which showed we had increased knowledge of social enterprise for 100% of respondents and that 40% were interested in starting a social enterprise at some time in their life.
We had an independent evaluation of the Contract North Consortia work and overall all of the members felt that it had benefited their business, increased their capacity to bid for contracts and improved the skills of staff and management.
We asked for feedback from our business planning support, which was rated overall at an average of 4.5 out of 5 for quality.
We have now increased the database of social entrepreneurs with whom we work in the North East to over 450, and since we have been running the Social Entrepreneurs' Network we have had much greater engagement with the start up entrepreneurs, who have reported higher levels of confidence on an ongoing basis.
Since the end of the 2015 financial year, we have run the first ever North East Social Enterprise Festival with 63 exhibitors and 750 visitors, and are already planning the 2016 event at the Sage, Gateshead.
The profile of social enterprise in the North East is higher with the public and with other stakeholders.
We continue to pursue our aims into 2015-16 and aim to make profit having invested in our staffing in 2014-15 to enable us to grow.