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International Home Page

  • Membership
  • ISFA
  • Hosting/Research Placements
  • Resources
  • Consultancy/Project Partnerships
  • Social Firms Europe (CEFEC)
  • Social Enterprise Alliance (SEA)
  • European Network For Social Integration Enterprises (ENSIE)
  • Case Study: Consultancy Work In Serbia, March 2007
  • Presentations (Seville, October 2006 & Czech Republic, September 2007)
  • Six month secondment opportunities with Social Firms UK

    Although Social Firms UK’s main focus is to grow the number of Social Firms in the UK – in turn increasing employment opportunities for people severely disadvantaged in the labour market – we also link with partners internationally to help them wherever possible to do the same.

Membership
Anybody can become a member of Social Firms UK, it doesn’t matter if you are based in New Zealand or Finland. Just complete the 2009 membership application form and we’ll take it from there (understandably we’ll only communicate with you by email, but most of the resources etc. are available electronically anyway).

ISFA logoInternational Social Firms Alliance (ISFA)
In recognition of the growing interest in Social Firm development in countries all over the world now, Social Firms UK launched the International Social Firms Alliance (ISFA) in March 2007. ISFA is an online area where people and organisations can meet virtually to discuss and share common issues and best practice. For more information about ISFA and how to join click here.

An Overview Of The Sector Worldwide
A useful update (October 2006) of the status of the international Social Firm movement appeared in the USA publication 'Psychiatric Services', called "An Update On Affirmative Businesses Or Social Firms For People With Mental Illness". It can be downloaded free of charge from the Social Firms UK Resource Centre at: http://resources.socialfirms.co.uk/resources.php?cat=7&r_id=356

Hosting/Research Placements
Social Firms UK is unique in that it has an overall picture of the Social Firm sector in this country. This can provide a valuable insight for other countries as to what type of businesses Social Firms are and what lessons they might learn for their development overseas. We have so far hosted placements from Japan and Korea within the offices of Social Firms UK. Our Japanese professor came to study the Social Firm model in order to be able to set up a resource centre in his country, and our Korean visitor learned about success factors and benchmarking in the Social Firm sector. Social Firms UK charges a monthly fee for such placements in the region of £300-£400 per month depending on requirements.

Resources
Whether you are a member or not, you can order resources from us as listed on the Resource Centre. If items require posting then this might cost slightly more than if you were based in the UK, but we will do it on a case by case basis. Again, most resources are available electronically. Payment in these situations has to be in £ sterling and is done by bank transfer – the purchaser will need to pay any transfer fees involved with this. Examples of other countries that have ordered resources from us to date include Australia, Slovenia and Czech Republic.

There is a special arrangement with the Performance Dashboard whereby we will work through one organisation only in another country because it is more cost effective with distribution of licences and bank transfer payments. Please go to http://www.socialfirms.co.uk/index.php/Section107.html for more information on this particular resource.

sally 2Consultancy / Project Partnerships
We are always open to being involved in projects abroad, so long as they are focussed on the growth of Social Firms. The kind of input we can make ranges from sharing of resources to help with organising events and influencing national policy. Unfortunately our funding regimes do not enable us to offer these services free of charge so the daily charge of £350 applies in any partner project or consultancy service.

Expertise/resources we can share with Social Firm structures outside the UK include:

- help with analysing business ideas for Social Firms in the partners’ country: transferability of DIY Feasibility Tool, introduction to market intelligence in the UK with a view to accessing similar type of intelligence, exploring profitability, potential for good quality job creation, varied and transferable job roles;

- sharing of know-how built up on Franchising and Replication of Social Firm businesses; joint analysis of the potential for the country concerned to adopt any of the business opportunities available from the UK or consider completely new ones;

- assisting to make the case for Social Firms at a national or regional government policy level (e.g. our involvement in describing our UK experiences directly to federal and state government in Australia was instrumental in unlocking a large development grant for a pilot programme in Victoria).

- involvement of the international partner concerned at the annual Social Firm conference in the UK at which more than 150 delegates from around the UK come in attendance and learn/network about Social Firm development issues;

- assistance to the international partner concerned in organising an awareness event about the potential of the Social Firm sector, based on previous experience of organising 3 transnational conferences and a total of 12 national conferences since 1997 – help with determining themes, topics for workshops, supply of speakers where appropriate, etc. To include provision of ‘conference organisation template’ that has been developed within Social Firms UK for the purposes of its own annual conference;

- provision of information about the UK Social Firm sector, linking with similar firms in this country and promoting/encouraging inter-trading and exchange of best practice and experiences;

- provision of useful development and management tools and assistance with adaptation to the international partner concerned’s Social Firm sector:

o Template Social Firm Manager Job Description & Person Specification;
o Values-Based Checklist for Social Firms;
o Performance Dashboard (this product will have a cost of £400 attached to it);
o DIY Feasibility Toolkit;
o The Extra Elements – A Social Firm Trainer

- provision of reports that Social Firms UK has written and which might prove of interest to the partner concerned’s own partners, e.g.:

o Branding for Social Enterprises
o Internet Marketing for Social Enterprises
o Retail Marketing for Social Enterprises
o Minimising Disincentives within the Benefits System – A Guide for Social Enterprises
o Addressing Disincentives (a report for policy makers of the Benefits System)

Basis for Social Firms UK input:
- 3 key staff at Social Firms UK to be involved: Sally Reynolds (Chief Executive), Kathy Baker (Quality) and Nigel Cudlipp (Finance). Other staff may be called upon depending on the level of input required;
- time requirement not to exceed 9 days per month in total (e.g. 3 days from each member of staff);
- rate of £350 per day per person + all travel, accommodation and subsistence expenses;
- arrangements for claiming payment and receiving payment to be agreed.

Please contact us if any of the above are of interest: [email protected]

Social Firms Europe (CEFEC)
Social Firms UK is a member of Social Firms Europe (formerly known as CEFEC - European Confederation Of Social Firms & Co-operatives).  Social Firms Europe is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) currently working out of a secretariat in Athens, Greece. With members all over Europe, Social Firms Europe holds an annual conference which provides excellent networking opportunities for those developing Social Firms. This year it is from 10th September 2009 in Prague (visit www.cefec2009inprague.cz ). Any organisation involved in training, vocational rehabilitation or employment initiatives - including Social Firms - for disadvantaged people can become a member (www.cefec.org).

Social Enterprise Alliance (SEA)
Social Firms UK is an active member of Social Enterprise Alliance. SEA is an umbrella network agency for the social enterprise movement across the USA. As many non-profit organisations work to increase their own sustainability through enterprise activities, the SEA has emerged as a single point of reference and support, a source of education and networking and the leading voice of this evolving sector. www.se-alliance.org

European Network For Social Integration Enterprises (ENSIE)
Social Firms UK is also an active member of ENSIE. The ENSIE Network wants to contribute to opening up opportunities for all men and women to exercise their rightful claim to participation in social life and be part of the economic changes across the whole spectrum of employment and the scope of retraining facilities. It is designed to actively contribute to the permanent prevention of long-term exclusion. In its membership it has 14 national and regional networks of Social Integration Enterprises, based in 10 member states. There are a total of 1,500 enterprises covered by ENSIE, with a total of 220,000 salaried staff – many of whom are disadvantaged in the labour market. www.ensie.org

Case Study: Consultancy Work In Serbia, March 2007

Presentations

Seville, October 2006
At the October 2006 CEFEC Conference in Seville, Sally Reynolds gave a presentation on what a Social Firm is and how the UK is working towards developing an accreditation system or 'standard' for Social Firms.

sally1

Czech Republic, September 2007
In September 2007 Sally Reynolds and Kathy Baker gave a presentation on 'The Development & Support Of Social Firms In Britain." at a Czechoslovakian conference organised by Focus Praha about Social Firms. For more information about the Social Firm sector in The Czech Republic, visit www.socialnifirmy.cz

Six Month Secondment Opportunities With Social Firms UK
Secondments are welcome at Social Firms UK subject to terms. Read an outline of a typical secondmnent and terms involved here.

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