Accredited social enterprises working in partnership

Examples of Social Enterprise Mark holders working together to achieve social value

As the guardian of credible social enterprise standards, Social Enterprise Mark CIC always encourages Mark holders to consider opportunities to work together as accredited social enterprises, some examples of which are shown below.

All organisations approved to display the Social Enterprise Mark/Gold Mark are guaranteed to be creating benefits for people and the planet, and so by working in partnership they can create considerable social value, as the below examples demonstrate.

Mark holders can use the online directory of accredited social enterprises to find like minded organisations to do business with.

We are always keen to promote stories about Mark holders partnerships. Please do get in touch to share your stories.

We practice what we preach too! We look out for opportunities where possible to work with Social Enterprise Mark/Gold Mark holders, some examples of which are shown below.

Social Enterprise Mark

inspired-to-achieveCosmic, Inspired to Achieve and Pluss

Cosmic, Inspired to Achieve and Pluss are working in partnership on a new
PlussCosmicproject to help Somerset’s most socially excluded communities return to employment, education and training, funded by the Big Lottery Fund.

The ‘Positive People’ programme will help over 1,000 individuals who are out of work to build their skills, confidence and motivation. This will include people with disabilities, mental health issues,ex-offenders, homeless people and people over 50.

The core partners are Pluss, Abilities, Inspired to Achieve, Cosmic and Community Council for Somerset, working alongside 41 additional partners across Somerset.

Cosmic and Pluss are also working on the same project to help disadvantaged people in Devon.

For more information, please visit the Pluss website.

column-bakehousePlymouth-University-1Column Bakehouse and Plymouth University

Column Bakehouse, part of Real Ideas Trading, and Plymouth University have agreed a deal will see Column Bakehouse supply seven cafés and catering outlets on the Plymouth University campus as well as the professional hospitality kitchen, all run by UCSP Ltd.

Column Bakehouse, Plymouth’s first and only social enterprise bakery, is situated in the Grade I listed Devonport Guildhall in Plymouth. Specialising in a wide range of artisan breads – particularly sourdough – Column Bakehouse has become the destination for connoisseurs of bread and baking for its top quality product, knowledgeable team, and family friendly on-site café.

Plymouth University was the first university in the world to be awarded the Social Enterprise Mark, in recognition of its commitment to caring for communities and protecting the planet. Speaking about the deal, Matthew Hodson, Commercial Services Director at UCSP Ltd said “We take our responsibility to deliver a high quality, sustainable and good value experience very seriously and this arrangement with Column Bakehouse will certainly support us in this mission. It is a fantastic example of like-minded South West businesses collaborating to succeed.”

Column Bakehouse new suppliers of University cafes' bread Jon Denley from Column Bakehouse making a delivery

Column Bakehouse new suppliers of University cafes’ bread
Jon Denley from Column Bakehouse making a delivery

Fusion21 and Big Issue Invest

Fusion21The-Big-InvestFusion21 partnered with Big Issue Invest in 2016, investing £200,000 in the Corporate Social Venturing (CSV) programme, which provides mentoring and financial support to early stage social businesses across the UK.

The social value created by Hospice Quality Partnership benefits people of all ages across hospices across the UK

The social value created by Hospice Quality Partnership benefits people of all ages across hospices across the UK

The CSV programme is central to Big Issue Invest’s mission to prevent poverty and create opportunity. The programme has supported more than 30 social businesses, such as Hospice Quality Partnership, who were recently awarded a runners-up honours at the Cabinet Office Social Investment Awards.

For more information, please visit the Fusion21 website.

Iridescent Ideas and University of St Mark & St John

MARJON-LOGO-CMYKIridescent IdeasIridescent Ideas launched the Forerunner Prize in May 2016, with support from partners including University of St Mark & St John.

The Forerunner Prize provides an opportunity for anyone to develop a tech-led business idea that has a good cause and will solve problems and make a positive impact in the world. The winner will receive £1,000 cash to help develop their idea, along with mentoring and business support. The winners will also receive specialist help from partner organisations, which will include research, marketing and branding, financial advice and access to a wide range of networks.

Brendon Noble, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research, Postgraduate & Innovation at the University of St Mark and St John, has pledged support to Forerunner. As a science and innovation specialist, Brendon brings a great deal of knowledge and experience to Forerunner.

For more information, please visit the Forerunner Prize website.

Forerunner Prize

Practicing what we preach!

SEM_MAIN_LOGO_CMYK_LANDSCAPE_AWWe also look out for opportunities where we can work with Social Enterprise Mark/Gold Mark holders, be it as a partnership or by sourcing products/services from our network of accredited social enterprises.

Below are some examples of how we work with Mark holders to create added social value.

Millfields Trust

In November 2016, we joined the thriving business community of Mark holder Millfields Trust, when we moved into office space at the HQ Business Centre in Plymouth.

Millfields Trust provides a platform to enable small and medium sized business to grow and develop. The Trust was set up to enable local people to contribute and manage the regeneration of the Stonehouse neighbourhood in Plymouth. They do this by focusing on job creation and the development of business.

As Lucy Findlay explains, we were excited to join the business community at Millfields, which includes a number of social enterprises, such as Mark holder Iridescent Ideas: “Not only are Millfields Trust a long standing Social Enterprise Mark holder, but they are an important hub for social enterprise activity in the city, supporting the regeneration of Stonehouse in Plymouth. We look forward to meeting lots of like-minded people and making a whole set of new connections in the Millfields business community.”

SEMCIC and Millfields Trust

Roger Pipe of Millfields Trust and Lucy Findlay of Social Enterprise Mark CIC

Chocolate-Films-logoChocolate Films

In March 2016, we commissioned Social Enterprise Mark holder Chocolate Films to produce a series of short films to raise awareness of how Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) can operate as social enterprises, putting sustainable and ethical business practices at the heart of their strategic directions. The films featured the four pioneering universities that have been awarded the accreditation, talking about the benefits of being recognised as a guaranteed social enterprise, driven by social objectives.

The films were part of a collaboration with the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), on a project to encourage the Higher Education sector to support and promote social enterprise in their institutions.

The project involved filming at each of the University campuses, as well as with our Managing Director Lucy Findlay and HEFCE Regional Consultant Ed Hughes.

The individual films can be viewed on our YouTube channel, and the compilation film is shown below.

Forerunner Prize

Iridescent_IdeasSocial Enterprise Mark CIC is a partner of the Forerunner Prize, which was launched in May by Mark holder Iridescent Ideas.

The Forerunner Prize is aimed at budding social entrepreneurs looking to do exciting things with technology. The winner will receive a a £5,000 prize package to help them develop a tech led social enterprise idea.

The partnership with Social Enterprise Mark CIC will provide expertise and support to help the successful winner create a strong social enterprise.


We have a long history with Cosmic – they were the first organisation to be awarded the Social Enterprise Mark, in 2010. CEO Julie Hawker was involved in the original project that set up the Social Enterprise Mark, and to this day remains a loyal ambassador.

We use Cosmic for a range of digital and IT support services, including website development and IT systems support and advice. Most recently, Cosmic designed our new look online directory, to promote our network of accredited social enterprises.

Cosmic has has a strong social aim; to ensure the benefits of living in a digital world are available to everyone.