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Projects and Partners

Social Firms UK works with a number of partners at national and regional levels to help meet the needs of the Social Firm sector and influence policy. We cannot be held responsible for the activities, actions or views expressed by, or on behalf of partners. However, of course we hope that, by working with other agencies at regional and national level, we can bring added benefits to our membership.

The partners that we currently engage with are:

  • Social Firms Scotland (SFS): www.socialfirms.org.uk
  • Social Firms Wales (SFWales): www.socialfirmswales.co.uk
  • Social Economy Network (Northern Ireland): www.socialeconomynetwork.org
  • Business Support Solutions (North West): www.business-support-solutions.co.uk
  • Social Enterprise East Midlands (SEEM): www.seem.uk.net
  • Institute for Social Entrepreneurs (ISE): www.i-se.co.uk
  • Broomby (Yorkshire): www.broomby.co.uk
  • Social Enterprise London (SEL): www.sel.org.uk
  • Social Enterprise East of England (SEEE): www.socialenterprise-east.org.uk
In 2006 the Social Firms UK sector was mapped. The results can be accessed by clicking on the appropriate region on the map below. The full results can be seen on the mapping page of this website.
    Select a region Scotland North East North West Yorkshire and The Humber Wales West Midlands East Midlands Eastern London South East South West Northern Ireland Scotland
    Projects and Partners
    Social Enterprise Coalition
    Office Of The Third Sector
    Social Enterprise Partnership
    European Confederation Of Social Firms & Cooperatives (CEFEC)
    Phoenix 2001-3 Project
    Phoenix 2004-6 Project
    Invest to Save 2001-3
    Other European Social Firm Support Structures

    Social Enterprise Coalition (SEC)

    Founded in January 2001 SEC grew out of the need felt by many social businesses to have a co-ordinated voice, and desire to work together when necessary to develop the sector. It was clear that the voice of social enterprise had not been heard in a coherent way when vital decisions were being made about RDAs, Small Business Service, the National Childcare
    Strategy and a multitude of other Government initiatives that would impact on the future business of social enterprises. SEC was incorporated in April 2002. Sally Reynolds of Social Firms UK is a Director on the Board of SEC. To find out more about the Social Enterprise Coalition, go to www.socialenterprise.org.uk

    Office Of The Third Sector (OTS)
    Social Firms UK and the OTS have entered into a strategic partnership for nearly three years, from 1st July 2007 to 31st March 2010. The partnership is orientated around providing a 'voice' for Social Firms and emerging Social Firms into the field of policy and helping to influence future direction of social enterprise initiatives, providing a series of promotional and publicity activities for the Social Firm sector, reaching out to Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups and individuals about Social Firms, and setting up a Social Firm visit programme. This is an exciting programme for Social Firms UK and its members and we expect the sector to benefit significantly from this strategic support. A memorandum of understanding was signed by both parties and it is available for view here. (See the Memorandum Of Understanding Between Social Firms UK and The OTS)

    Social Enterprise Partnership (SEP (GB))

    This was the national Development Partnership (DP) formed to submit and operate a programme under EQUAL to strengthen the social economy. The main partners were Social Firms UK, Development Trusts Association, Co-operatives UK (previously called the Co-op Union), New Economics Foundation, Social Enterprise London and the Social Enterprise Coalition.

    Social Firms UK was actively involved in the national online Business Support Register and the Quality and Impact and Training work of SEP. For more information view the SEP website on www.sepgb.co.uk.

    Social Enterprise Unit (SEU)

    The SEU of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) launched the ‘Strategy for Social Enterprise’ in 2002. A progress report on the strategy was produced in October 2003. Both these items are available from the resource centre of Social Firms UK or direct from the DTI website. See www.dti.gov.uk.

    European Confederation of Social Firms and Co-operatives (CEFEC)

    Social Firms UK is a member of CEFEC. CEFEC is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) currently working out of a secretariat in Athens, Greece. With members all over Europe, CEFEC holds an annual conference which provides excellent networking opportunities for those developing Social Firms. Any organisation involved in training, vocational rehabilitation or employment initiatives - including Social Firms - for disadvantaged people can become a member (www.cefec.org).

    Phoenix 2001-3 Project

    Social Firms UK applied for Phoenix Development Funding in 2000 to carry out a significant capacity building programme for regional networks (Phoenix was England only) and programme of business support for members. This application was successful and much of the funding was devolved down to regional level to carry out business support, workshops and training for members. This programme ran from January 2001 to end December 2003.

    The Social Firm sector and Social Firms UK would have struggled to make any difference had this funding not been obtained. As it is, up to December 2003 a total of 145 business Support Interventions had been made under the Social Firms UK Business Support programme and regional networks had been given the opportunity to develop and become established within that timescale.

    Social Firms UK used its experience from that round of Phoenix to apply for the ‘Building on the Best’ round of Phoenix Development Fund, in partnership with the regional networks, for 2004-2006.

    Phoenix 2004-6 Project

    Flagship Firms was a franchising and replication project run by Social Firms UK between April 2004 and March 2006, funded by the SBS Phoenix Development Fund Building On The Best Programme, to support the development of 15-20 high profile Social Firms with the potential to motivate and inspire others. The main achievements of the Flagship Firm programme were primarily viewed as attitude change, building capacity and raising profile, greater in-depth understanding of successful Social Firms, production of materials and resources rather than new enterprises and job outcomes.


    Invest to Save 2001-3

    For information on this project please go to www.socialfirms.co.uk/isb/index.html.

    Other European Social Firm Support Structures

    Social Firms UK works with several European partners who carry out similar support functions in their own countries:

    FAF gGmbH
    Hedemannstrasse 14
    10969 Berlin
    Contact: Peter Stadler
    Tel: +49 (0)30 2511066
    Fax: +49 (0)30 2519382

    Social Firms UK operates, in addition to CEFEC, at a European level. Social Firms UK is also an active member of the European Network For Social Integration Enterprises (ENSIE, www.ensie.org) and the Social Enterprise Alliance in the USA (www.se-alliance.org).

    Projects and Partners

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