The UK is facing an inequality crisis. Homelessness and child poverty is rising across the country.
This is driving a need for the development of more businesses that have at their heart an aim to improve society, as well as to make money. Social enterprises concentrate on social and/or environmental objectives and their profits are reinvested for that purpose.
Examples include Café Direct, which works with smaller farmers across the world who have less impact on the environment, Social Bite, a Scottish-based restaurant chain which donates all its profits to charity and The Big Issue, which uses its profits to help the homeless.
Now the University of Salford will play host to a major conference aimed at helping these types of businesses grow. Dr Morven McEachern and Dr Kevin Kane, Centre for Social Business in the University of Salford Business School are organising the one day event.
Dr McEachern said: “Many social enterprises are making a significant social impact into reducing instances of supplier exploitation, homelessness and poverty. Café Direct and Social Bite are good examples of that. However, in view of the scale of our growing social issues which seem to be getting worse, not better, we need more social enterprises to help change the world for the better. That is what our event is all about.
“Our conference aims to share expertise and enable anyone interested in setting up a social business or just to know more about them, to be able to source the help and support they need. We will be sharing best practise and tips on making these types of businesses as effective as they can.”
Among the speakers at the Nurturing Socially Responsible Entrepreneurs Conference is Nigel Kershaw OBE, Chair of The Big Issue Group. He will give the keynote address. Since 1974 he has had experience of building and running social enterprises and is now in charge of The Big Issue; one of the best known social enterprises.
Nigel said: “Our social investment arm Big Issue Invest was set up to tackle poverty; but what we do is not charity. We look to invest in social businesses that have found innovative solutions to some of our biggest social problems, just as The Big Issue did to help rough sleepers in London 25 years ago. We understand first-hand how good social businesses can achieve great things.”
“The more socially minded entrepreneurs we have in the UK, the healthier society will be.”
Nurturing Socially Responsible Entrepreneurs is taking place on March 28 at the University of Salford, MediaCityUK campus. Among the other speakers will be Paul Dennett, City Mayor of Salford, Anne Lythgoe, Policy and Partnerships Manager at Salford City Council and Chris Dabbs, Chief Executive Officer at Unlimited Potential, a social enterprise business based in Salford that specialises in improving happiness and health.