Driving Economic Regeneration Through Social Enterprise
On 9th of February 2011 at Guoman Charing Cross Hotel in London it took place conference evaluating how to challenge new economic era through social enterprises and representative of Barka UK Social Economy Centre attend it.
Current government plans for public sector reform is based on social enterprises which are becoming crucial as a factor to create Big Society. They are vital in delivering critical public services and driving economic regeneration so local authorities are working on strategies to promote and enhance social enterprise.
Speakers representatives from Royal Bank of Scotland Group, ResPublica, The Co-Operative College, Fusion21, Eden District Council, Department of Health, Department for Communities and Local Government, The Social Investment Business, and National Council for Voluntary Organizations gave presentations how to use potential of current economy to run social enterprises and providing value for money outcomes. Sessions of this forum confirmed that new models for delivering public services are already taking place across the UK but they have to be duplicated across. Many speakers emphasize the importance of building social goal with business efficiency to secure co-operative advantage as well as building network of social business opportunities among communities.
Delegates heard critical voices about government funding cuts which have big influence on local services but the same time it forces local authorities to look for cheaper solutions in many sectors. Values for money solutions offered by social enterprises giving back to the community are perfect solutions because they are local and decentralized services. They also create local jobs, promoting social values by using local resources and they have high return on investment ratio.
Plans for the future for social enterprises are to introduce community shares, social impact bonds with support of big society bank generating financial resources to develop infrastructure for employee-owned co-operatives. The key issues are related to cost of services, long term contracts and innovative funding models cashing out from investments rather than public funding.
There were also networking sessions between presentation where we had chance to discuss our points and views on current economic climate and chances for social enterprises to be developed in the near future.