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Social enterprise - let's just do it!

6th September 2012

Many of you reading this blog will know about my longstanding involvement in the social enterprise movement. I can honestly say that this was entirely driven by my passion to ensure that the business model which has led to success, recognition and most importantly great social impact here at Cosmic is something which others recognise for what it is, and hopefully want to buy more from us, or better still go off and set up their own business in this way.

And so reflecting on the way in which social enterprise is developing here and globally, its still a big worry that its taking so long to engage others and make them understand why this way of doing business is such a 'no-brainer'.

Cosmic was first ever Social Enterprise Mark holder and we will continue to support this initiative as a key way to improve our marketing, communication and engagement plans. I fully expect that the definition debate will rage on and on for years to come, and in the meantime the Social Enterprise Mark provides the most effective way for our business to set out its stall - one which is externally verified and therefore credible.

And then we find a major global corporate starting to use the term 'social enterprise' in an entirely different way - describing the use of social media and social networks as an integral part of business for the future. Well that put the 'cat-amongst-pidgeons' in the sector. And for once we found the leaders and influencers all pull together. Well done Salesforce - not just for backing down on the issue of trademarking the phrase, but also for coming up with a strategy which finally saw social enterprise fighting together.

And then, a lesson I've learned in recent years, move swiftly away from ideology, rhetoric and policy - because in the end its all about business and changing the world. With that in mind can I ask readers to find time to look at two examples with very current focus on issues in our real world and with a clear social enterprise opportunity (and maybe they'll help you to see your own) -

- Colin Crooks talked on the Daily Politics Show earlier this week about solving unemployment through social enterprise, using the example of Eco-Computers - here's the link (skip to 1:16:25 to find the feature) -

Bikeworks based in London and its involvement in Olympic Legacy work and its partnership with Barclays Bank -