Let’s Talk Good Finance

Thursday 7th September 9am – 12 noon

Big Society Capital are working with Social Enterprise Acumen and VONNE to bring their Let’s Talk Good Finance events to the North East. This event aims to bring together charities, social enterprises and organisations with social investors and intermediary bodies to network, share information and discuss latest issues relating to social finance.

Social Investment Surgery 12.30 – 2pm

As a wholesale investor Big Society Capital are interested in talking to commissioners, corporates and CEOs or FDs of large turnover social enterprise and charities about your interest in social investment, your capital needs and to hear your innovative ideas around how repayable finance can best create social impact. Meetings will be by appointment only and to ensure the maximum value from the session a call or discussion before agreeing an appointment will be arranged.

To book your place:

local contact: charlotte.glendinning@socialenterpriseacumen.co.uk

Big Society Capital: MMills@bigsocietycapital.com

Seeing is Believing Tour


Social Enterprise Acumen Organised and facilitated the Durham Seeing is Believing Tour.

Leading social housing maintenance provider, Wates Living Space, and main contractor, Wates Construction, have joined forces to urge North East businesses to ramp up their support of the region’s social enterprise (SE) sector. The call to action comes as the Wates Group pledges to spend £20m with SEs and follows a ‘Seeing is Believing’ tour in Durham, hosted by Wates to demonstrate the difference being made by the SE sector in the North East. The event saw Wates partner with Social Enterprise UK to host the eighth in a series of nationwide tours designed to highlight the social value created by SEs and encourage businesses to embed SEs within their supply chain. The Wates Group’s commitment to invest in the SE sector has so far seen the business spend almost £9m with social enterprises across the country, fulfilling its pledge to spend £20m with the sector by 2020.

Share Impact podcast

Hear Kates most recent podcast talking about the North East Social Enterprise Festival, and a discussion about what is a social enterprise, the opportunities for the sector over the next 5 years, and why now is such an exciting time to be part of it.

Also hear about how she manages her time, tackles procrastination and overcomes the things she doesn’t really want to do, enabling her to fit so much in to days and achieve more.

Click here is listen

The Social Enterprise Exchange Marketplace

The Social Enterprise Exchange Marketplace is taking place on Tuesday 21 March 2017 at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange.


This new event from Social Enterprise Scotland is a busy marketplace of social enterprises
from across the country – plus a unique programme of speakers. Buy and sell goods and services,
network and learn – with social enterprises, charities and public and private sector guests.
This dynamic and exciting one day event is a marketplace of over 80 exhibitors and a diverse
mix of hundreds of delegates helping take Scotland’s brilliant social enterprises forward.



Here are the highlights:

  • Tuesday 21st March 2017, Corn Exchange Edinburgh
  • The new national trade fair, networking and learning opportunity for social enterprises
  • Opening Plenary with Nicola Sturgeon, plus a raft of fantastic and unique sessions & speakers
  • Buy and sell goods and services, network and learn – with social enterprises, charities and public and private sector guests. 
  • Over 100 Exhibitors / hundreds of delegates
  • Scotland’s premier Social Enterprise Event!
  • Delegate Places start at £75 + vat and Exhibition Spaces £275 + vat


For full details and to book please visit: socialenterpriseexchange.scot


North East Community Business Club

Logos for website







The North East’s premier network for Community Businesses, Social Enterprises and Social Leaders.

Funded by Power to Change and Hosted by Social Enterprise Acumen CIC.

Social Enterprise Acumen CIC (SEA) is pleased to announce the launch of the North East Community Business Club.
Times of austerity can also be times of opportunity, so those of us working for social change in our North East Communities need the chance to come together to collaborate, share experiences and knowledge, support each other and explore enterprising ways to tackle the issues we face. The North East Community Business Club has been established to provide the opportunity for this to happen.


Social Enterprise Acumen is calling for Expressions of interest from Community Businesses from across the following areas to become ‘Ambassador’ Organisations:
1) Northumberland
2) North Tyneside/Newcastle
3) Gateshead/South Tyneside
4) Sunderland/Hartlepool
5) Darlington/Stockton
6) Middlesbrough Cleveland
(Please note we are specifically looking for Community Businesses to be Ambassadors – please see the detailed criteria at http://www.thepowertochange.org.uk/what-is-community-business/)

Community Businesses have 4 key criteria.

Locally rooted: They are rooted in a particular geographical place and respond to its needs. For example, that could be high levels of urban deprivation or rural isolation.
Trading for the benefit of the local community: They are businesses. Their income comes from things like renting out space in their buildings, trading as cafes, selling produce they grow or generating energy.
Accountable to the local community: They are accountable to local people, for example through a community shares offer that creates members who have a voice in the business’s direction.
Broad community impact: They benefit and impact their local community as a whole. They often morph into the hub of a neighbourhood, where all types of local groups gather, for example to access broadband or get training in vital life skills.


We are looking for the following commitment from Ambassador Organisations:

• To host 1 local Community Business Club meeting per month in their community venue (for 18 months)
• To provide the administrative support to their local Community Business Club meetings, including minutes and actions that will be provided to SEA for distribution to the wider network
• To attend monthly full network meetings (every month for 18 months) to feed back from local meetings and gain information from the wider network to feed back to their local members
• To actively promote the North East Community Business Club to organisations in its area

SEA understands that this is a significant commitment from Ambassadors Organisations and can provide remuneration of up to £3,000 per organisation to cover costs associated with the above (for a period of 18 months).

How to become an Ambassador Organisation

If your organisation would like to become an Ambassador Organisation please send us an Expression of Interest of no more than 2 sides of A4 outlining the following:
• Why your organisation is best placed to be an ambassador organisation
• The range of organisations (geographically) that would benefit from local meetings being held at your premises
• The size of your venue – specifically how many people can you host at local meetings
• The experience and knowledge your organisation would provide as an ambassador
• Confirmation of the commitment to attend meetings (contracted for 18 months)
• An outline of how you would promote the network to local and wider members and potential members
• The added value that your organisation can bring to the network
• Your proposed costs for being an Ambassador (up to 3k)

If you would like to have an informal discussion about this role, please contact Emma Frew on 0191 3869785. The closing date for Expressions of Interest is 27th January 2017 at noon.

(The North East Community Business Club will be launched in February 2017. Membership is free. If you are interested in becoming a member please sign up to our mailing list and we will contact you with more details and information on the launch event. Cbc@socialenterpriseacumen.co.uk)

Free leadership training

Are you involved with a locally-rooted, people-powered business? Are you passionate about empowering your community?

A partnership of Power to Change, the RSA, RIO and University of Sheffield Management School are offering a free leadership training course across the Northern regions of England for people from community businesses committed to developing their skills and impact.

You’ll learn and share experiences with others from across the region and receive expert support to help make your organisation more enterprising, inclusive and effective.


“This came at exactly the right time for both our organisation and for me personally. I’ve done a lot of training in the past and it’s rare to find something this good; the content, delivery and other participants have been exceptional.” South West programme participant 2016


Find out more here: https://www.thersa.org/action-and-research/rsa-projects/economy-enterprise-manufacturing-folder/community-business-leaders-programme


Sign up for our FAQs webinar https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3919234863705441793  – Thu, Nov 17, 2016 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM


To apply for a place on the Community Business Leadership Programme please complete Application stage 1: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/commbizn


If you have any questions please contact Josie Warden on josie.warden@rsa.org.uk  or 0207 451 6914.

Let’s Talk Good Finance


Big Society Capital are working with Social Enterprise Acumen and VONNE to bring their Let’s Talk Good Finance events to the North East. This event is the second in a series of events aiming to bring together charities, social enterprises and organisations with social investors and intermediary bodies to network, share information and discuss latest issues relating to social finance.

Hear stories of how social investment has made a real difference for social enterprises and meet investors and people who have been there and done it!
Join us at 9:30am for coffee before a 10:00am start.

November 23rd, 2016 9:30 AM   to   12:30 PM

Sjovoll Centre, Front Street, Pity Me, Durham, DH1 5BZ


How North East Social Enterprise Festival 2015 Dragons’ Den helped Birkheads wild

Birkheads wild CICIn celebration of the North East Social Enterprise Festival tomorrow I thought I would share with you a letter we received from last year’s winner, Fiona O’Connor director of Birkheads Wild.

Come along to Sage, Gateshead tomorrow to hear other inspirational stories, support our local social enterprises and most of all enjoy a full day of live music and entertainment.

For more information click here


Dear ‘Dragons’


On the eve of the 2016 Social Enterprise Festival I wanted to send you an overview of what we’ve been up to over the past 12 months, and to let you know exactly how your support for our idea last year has enabled us to really move our project forward towards getting Birkheads Wild trading.


We decided to split the prize money between “boring essentials” required for set up, equipment and to help fund at least 1 further camp. Your support helped us to:

·         obtain enhanced DBS certificates for 3 years

·         pay for planning and licensing related fees – to Gateshead Council

·         pay for a proportion of our first year of Public Liability Insurance


We spent several long months trying to get the relevant permissions we needed from the Council and, after revising the scale of our camp site down, we finally obtained a 28 day Camping Licence (for 28 overnight stays spread over a year). This meant that by May 2016 we could finally look at setting up the site….but we still had a long way to go….


Your support also helped us to:

·         buy and set up a parachute covered bushcraft camp fire area on site

·         buy equipment needed for camps and sessions

·         pay for a proportion of Directors training


Our second big milestone this year came in July when we obtained a grant to buy a beautiful composting toilet – which has now been fabricated, delivered to us and should be fully installed on site by end Nov 2016 (we have a very big hole to dig!). Using a chemical portaloo was both financially and environmentally unsustainable and it had prevented us from being able to trade effectively so we are very excited about this development. In the last 12 months we have also:

·         opened a bank account!

·         gained 2 more Directors

·         set up a Facebook page and Twitter account

·         undertaken training, development and lots of further research


Finally in September we managed to host another camp just before the end of the season – a group of teenagers undertaking their Bronze DofE expedition who had a fantastic time in rural Gateshead/County Durham and who loved camping with us.


We are now at a tipping point where Birkheads Wild is moving from being a “hobby” to a functioning business – I am transitioning into freelance work next month so that I can give more of my time on a voluntary basis to having the CIC fully trading by early spring 2017.


Our next steps include; a Crowd Funding Campaign, setting up a website, exploring many options to host different groups on/around the site and testing these out, completing our training – Alison with a Bushcraft Diploma and me as a Guided Walk Leader and being fully ready to welcome visitors as soon as it is warm enough!


We have a stand at the Social Enterprise Festival at Sage tomorrow where we have low/no cost woodland activities for younger kids and a Minecraft vs Bushcraft  hands-on session – learn the 5 C s of Survival – and help make your own Paracord survival bracelet for the older kids. We’ll also be taking booking enquiries for 2017. Please come and say Hi if you are there. We can also help persuade other people with a social enterprise idea to go for it, and give help and advice on facing this year’s Dragons!


I just wanted to say thanks again for believing in our idea – we believe in it too and it’s finally, slowly becoming a reality!


I hope to be able to welcome you on site soon but in the meantime please see our Facebook page Birkheads Wild or find us on Twitter @birkheads_wild

%d bloggers like this: