Devon Communities Together (DCT) has successfully delivered a project which supported social enterprise network development across Devon, Plymouth, Torbay and Somerset.
DCT worked in partnership with Devon County Council and social enterprise networks across the HoTSW LEP area:
• Plymouth Social Enterprise Network (PSEN)
• Essence of Exeter CIC Social Enterprise Network
• Local Spark: Torbay, supported by Torbay Community Development Trust (TCDT)
• Community Council of Somerset (Smart Communities Ltd)
Enhance Social Enterprise Network Devon & Somerset is a membership network that encompasses local networks across Devon and Somerset (including Plymouth and Torbay). We're bringing together businesses and entrepreneurs from across the region for networking, peer support and learning opportunities, to help this growing sector of the region's economy.
The project has enabled the creation of local networks in Somerset and Torbay which did not previously exist, and which will continue to operate after the Enhance project.
The network has launched an online asset map and business directory of social enterprises across the South West. This platform provides a live presence for social enterprises across the HotSW with individual listings. Thus, a one-stop-shop for social enterprise information, networking and promotion across the whole of Devon and Somerset and is an excellent opportunity for members to increase their visibility.
With 481 members and counting, partners have demonstrated the value, diversity and collaboration of networks across the sector through organisation of 18 events and networking opportunities, which has facilitated connection of members and peer to peer support across the LEP area.
Several of these events took place pre-lockdown and since the Covid-19 regulations all events were moved online, having hosted several successful webinars and continuing the peer learning opportunities. You can view some of our past webinars here, as well as find out about future events.
What are social enterprises?
Social enterprises are businesses that set out to create positive social change.
Like traditional businesses they aim to make a profit but it’s what they do with their profit that sets them apart; reinvesting or donating it to create positive social change.
Social enterprises are in our communities, on our smart phones and on our high streets – from coffee shops and cinemas, to pubs and leisure centres, banks and bus companies. Famous examples include Big Issue, Divine Chocolate and the Eden Project.
Join the network
To join the Enhance Devon & Somerset Social Enterprise Network, find out more about social enterprises in the region or find a social enterprise to support, please visit www.enhancesocialenterprise.org.uk.
The Heart of the South West Enhance Social Enterprise Programme is receiving up to £1,053,610 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for ERDF. Established by the European Union, ERDF funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/england-2014-to-2020-european-structural-and-investment-funds