This week we launched the Social Entrepreneurs Network at our base The Sjøvoll Centre in Pity Me. It was primarily an evening of sharing. Attendees from County Durham and throughout the North East turned out to share valuable contacts, resources, and ideas, as well as their successes, challenges, and wisdom picked up along the way. Among the attendees were people just beginning to explore social enterprise, social entrepreneurs one year, two years, and further down the line, and more experienced professionals who have managed larger organisations.
After refreshments and introductions the group participated in a presentation and workshop led by SEA Chief Executive Kate Welch. Kate provided an overview of her vision of the Social Entrepreneurs Network, which is to gather like-minded people who are passionate about social change and build a support network for social entrepreneurs at different stages of development.
While what we now call “social networking” is an essential tool for social enterprise, the Social Entrepreneurs Network relies on the benefits of providing a physical space (the original social networking platform) for social entrepreneurs to come together. Feelings of isolation can be a barrier for social entrepreneurs but a more personable networking experience can combat this by reinforcing a sense of community.
As the network will grow and change based on the interests and needs of its members, Kate and the SEA team dedicated a good chunk of time at the first meeting to discover exactly what aspects of social enterprise the group would like focus on in future, and to get a sense of what local social entrepreneurs feel in terms of local access to resources and support.
The next Social Entrepreneurs Network will be held on Wednesday, 22 October, 2014, at The Sjøvoll Centre. All social entrepreneurs and those looking to start social enterprise are welcome!