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News - 24 March 2007

City-wide strategy for social enterprise

Social Enterprise is fast becoming a significant business sector in Brighton & Hove. And the City Council has recognised the need for an overall strategy to coordinate the development of this important business and community sector.

Brighton was after all the home of the nation’s first social enterprise. The Cooperative Retail Society opened its first shop at 31 West Street in 1828.

A social enterprise is an organization or venture that advances its social mission through entrepreneurial, earned income strategies. Businesses seeking to empower their communities and promote sustainable development are springing up all over the city and it is time to support them.

On Thursday, 29 March, the Brighton & Hove City Council’s Policy & Resources Committee will be asked to agree further support for the city's long history of social enterprise through the implementation of a city-wide strategy.

The city currently benefits from the input of 110 social enterprise organisations operating in the education, environment and community development areas among others. Collectively the city's social enterprises turn over an estimated £21 million a year, employ 1,262 people and provide opportunities for over 3,000 volunteers. A high proportion of the people they employ come from the city's disadvantaged groups.

Notable social enterprises in Brighton include Magpie Recycling, The Wood Recycling Project and Care Co-ops, which have all been trading for 10 or more years.

Councillor Sue John, deputy chair of the Policy & Resources committee, said: “We want to maintain an atmosphere where social enterprise can flourish in Brighton & Hove. The city is already viewed as a market leader in developing social enterprise as part of economic growth and at our budget meeting we approved £50,000 from the Local Authority Business Growth Incentive (LABGI)”

The support package will include the provision of an on-line directory, networking opportunities, advice sessions, mentoring, and the bringing together of private sector companies with social enterprises for mutual benefit.

Read related items on:
Social Enterprises
Brighton & Hove City Council
John, Sue

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