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On 18 November 2011 - 6:05pm

“There is no such thing as failure—just God pointing you in a new direction.”  – Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey is an actress, producer and philanthropist.  She is best known for her TV talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, which recently ended a 25-year run.  Oprah rose from an impoverished background to become one of the richest and most influential women in the world.

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On 18 November 2011 - 6:04pm

Our newsletter brings you the latest information from Helping Hand Rewards and our socially responsible partners. This issue includes:

  • Meet Our Newest Partner: Yali Derman
  • Mercado Global Makes Headlines
  • Case Study: Hotel Palomar Chicago Offers Bath Teas from Bright Endeavors

To view the newsletter, click here.

See something you like? Suggestions? Or, perhaps you have a story idea for a future issue. Leave a comment below. We appreciate the feedback!

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Posted By The BSSEC blog
On 18 November 2011 - 4:44pm

At iSE’s Social Enterprise Day event yesterday I bumped into Ian Wells, an old friend from work I have been involved in with Birmingham Chamber.

Ian is now the co-ordinator for Cherry Orchard Gardening Services — COGS.

COGS is a training and support opportunity run for and by people with a Learning Disability where they are assisted to become gardeners with an employable skill. Once their skills have developed through training the Gardeners join the Service Provision Team maintaining gardens for elderly residents under contract to a local charity.

COGS operates in Burntwood and Lichfield, Staffordshire, but since its relaunch as an independent, trading Community Interest Company earlier this year — it was previously part of Staffordshire Day Services — ...more

Posted By The BSSEC blog
On 18 November 2011 - 3:22pm

ART (Aston Reinvestment Trust) has announced that it has reached £10m in loans delivered to businesses, including social enterprises, based in Birmingham and Solihull.
ART is a Community Development Finance Institution, which was set up in 1997 to fill a gap in the market left by the banks. It was a pioneer of its model of raising a mixture of public sector and private sector funding to lend locally and its way of providing finance for enterprise has not only been replicated throughout the UK, it has also been closely researched by visitors to its Aston Cross base from all over the world including Japan, Korea and Europe.
Since the credit crunch in 2008 ART has seen demand rise substantially, but the good news is that it still has money available to lend. Loans of between £10,000 and £50,000 are on offer for just about any business purpose, including to support cashflow. All you need is a viable plan and to have been unable to get any or all of the finance you need ...more

On 18 November 2011 - 3:16pm



I was in town this morning for a very productive meeting with a friend who’s a local GP to help me explore potential opportunities for social enterprises (aka #socent on Twitter) if GPs end up directly commissioning services.

We’d spotted earlier in the day that Billy Bragg was going to be at Occupy Leeds in City Square at midday, so we wandered across after our meeting finished.

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Posted By The BSSEC blog
On 18 November 2011 - 11:33am

Until just a matter of weeks ago the Ella Foundation was a new name to me. But things are moving quickly.  The organisation has been providing leadership coaching and support for commercial companies for over twenty years but recently has developed the programme so that it is customised specifically for third sector leaders.

Until now its learning groups have been primarily in London but this is about to change. The foundation launches its first Midlands Inspired Leadership group with a meeting on the 16th December at the offices of Chantrey Vellacott in Edgbaston.

Ella’s work already comes with high recommendations — Jericho Foundation’s chief exec Richard Beard has been part of a ...more

On 18 November 2011 - 11:05am

Why would a social enterprise, or better yet a charity, buy a private business? And not just any private business but a profitable one that is ready for expansion and growth. The answer is: because they can.

The Third Sector has traditionally worked very hard historically to convert projects into social businesses or to start up social businesses from scratch or even utilise franchising and licensing to develop new social businesses. These models of growth require resources and have associated risks, business acquisition is the next step along a continuum of growth models for an organisation seeking to deliver commercial and social outcomes.

There is no risk free or cheap way to grow an organisation and business acquisition has its specific risks and costs. However, business acquisition has a place in Third Sector organisations’ strategies for growth and sustainability. We have created some cameos (very brief case studies) sharing the great ideas which various ...more

On 17 November 2011 - 10:14pm

Spin out and deliverAllison Ogden-Newton on the launch at the Guardian of the latest guide to public sector service spin-outs

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Posted By The BSSEC blog
On 17 November 2011 - 7:51pm

I joined around fifty other guests at iSE today for a lunch to celebrate Social Enterprise Day. It was lovely to meet up with so many friends, old and new. The iSE team made sure that everything went smoothly.

The lunch — homemade soup, bread, fruit and some of the best homemade cake it has ever been my good fortune to sample — was excellent.

It’s good sometimes to remind ourselves that social enterprise is a growing movement and that there are a lot of us. And moreover, that there are lots of new faces and younger faces — the sector is attracting new blood and is more diverse than it was just a few years ago and that has to be a good thing.

There were events in various Birmingham locations and although I only went to one (frankly, more than one would have been a bit too much like work rather than the pleasant conversation, food and networking I had in mind) I am assured that the others were equally successful and enjoyable.

I must single out ...more

On 17 November 2011 - 6:05pm

“Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.”  — Kahlil Gibran

What a beautiful quote from Kahlil Gibran, a philosopher and leader who was so conscious of living in tune with nature, our feelings and our sincerest intentions.

Gibran was born in Lebanon in 1883 and emigrated to the United States as a young man.  He is best known for his work of philosophical essays, The Prophet.  He is the third best-selling poet in the world, after Shakespeare and Lao-Tzu–excellent company to be in!

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