From the 2nd-4th 2009 December Brighton & Hove hosted an international three day conference focusing on the role and impact of social enterprise in urban areas. Over 150 people attended including many overseas delegates.
Delegates from Italy, Portugal, France, Greece, Sweden and other EU countries took part in a range of activities focused on building relationships and sharing practical knowledge. They discussed and examined the ways in which social enterprise works in different areas of Europe and the positive economic and social impact it can deliver.
The conference is part of the Urban Network of Social Enterprises project, an EU initiative formed of partners across nine countries.
The project aims to promote mutual learning, collaboration and best practice across the partner countries. It is hoped that sharing knowledge and the outcomes of the conference and other partner activities, will help to integrate social enterprises more effectively within long term social and economic development including within governance and policy in urban areas.
Social enterprise is becoming increasingly recognised as vital to the economic structure of the UK's business landscape. The State of Social Enterprise Survey 2009, commissioned by the Social Enterprise Coalition (SEC) *and published last week, found 56% of social enterprises had increased their turnover in 2007/8 on the previous year, compared with just 28% of SME's reporting an increase and 43% reporting a decrease.
Brighton & Hove is already a hub for organisations that work towards community aims.
Research collated within the last two years showed that the high number of social enterprises in the city contribute over £20m annually to the local economy, employ nearly 2,000 people and engage nearly 3,000 volunteers.
The More than Profit Network, run by The Business Community Partnership, exists solely to create a larger and more robust community of social enterprises across the city. The network helped to produce this research and a Social Enterprise Strategy for Brighton & Hove, which the Council has since adopted.
John Routledge, Head of Communities for Brighton & Hove City Council and conference lead commented:
“So many trades and services are now global in scope that if we do not develop international links we will be left behind with future developments.
Social enterprise creates employment and volunteering opportunities as well as conscience led services and trades from which local people can benefit. This conference is a great opportunity to learn from different cultures and organisations about the power of social enterprise and its potential value to cities and urban areas both here in Brighton & Hove and across Europe.”
For more information on the conference please contact: John Routledge, Head of Communities, Brighton & Hove City Council John.Routledge@Brighton-Hove.gov.uk
For more information on The Urban N.O.S.E project see:
For more information on social enterprise in Brighton & Hove see:
*The Social Enterprise Coalition
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Brighton & Hove Community Partnership