CED Bulletin: March 2013

On March 14, 2013

Hello CED practitioners and supporters,

What a fabulous summer we are having, and the year is also getting off to a good start for CED and social enterprise…
 

OCVS survey reveals diverse, mature and active social enterprise sector in NZ

A survey run by the Department of Internal Affairs has revealed a social enterprise sector in New Zealand which is relatively mature and diverse. Go here for the report.


Senior Policy Adviser Diana Suggate, says “Social enterprises in this country are operating in a wide range of industries, have a range of approaches to supporting their many and varied missions, and serve many different types of beneficiaries. While many survey participants have been operating for more than ten years, we are aware that there is a growing interest in the potential to grow the social enterprise movement.” 
 
For the purposes of the survey, “social enterprise” was defined, based on the Australian FASES research definition, as an organisation which has a social, cultural, or environmental mission, that derives a substantial portion of its income from trade, and that reinvests the majority of its profit/surplus in the fulfilment of its mission.
 
Diana said the survey showed most social enterprises trade in their local area and focus on benefiting families, young people and other social groupings, although around 15 per cent focus on environmental causes. Highlights from the survey include:
  • Most social enterprises work in education and training (43 per cent), social assistance services (22 per cent), recreation and sport (17 per cent) and arts and heritage (15 per cent).
  • Charitable trusts make up 53 per cent of organisations in the sector; 37 per cent are incorporated societies, and 7 per cent are limited liability companies.
  • Around five per cent of the organisations that responded to the survey are affiliated with Māori authorities. This can be through a marae, an iwi organisation, having a Māori organisation as a shareholder; or having an informal association with a hāpu or iwi.
  • In addition to income from sales, government contracts provide significant income for 40 per cent of the organisations. Grants and donations are also important.
“Challenges faced by the sector include a more difficult trading environment caused by the economic downturn, and the need for funding to support development and growth,” Diana says. Other issues social enterprises contend with include changing market conditions; increased competition; demographic change; availability and capability of workers; compliance costs; governance and management issues; and lack of capacity for growth. Diana says  “Particularly interesting for us was the finding that said around 65 per cent of the organisations felt they could benefit from external advice, particularly with developing marketing strategies and training in management skills,”.



Diana said government interest in social enterprises hinged on the potential for these organisations to both boost a local economy and tackle social, cultural and environmental issues. “The report provides a basis for ongoing investigation into social enterprises and will inform policy development about this important sector.” 

CED Research – 100 interviews now completed


The Community Economic Development Research that is currently being carried out through the CED Trust (by myself and Dorte Wray), with Unitec as a research partner, is quite distinct from the above OCVS research.  Diana and I have had frequent communications as to how these two pieces of work will complement one another. I see that the OCVS research provides an overview in terms of the size and scope of the social enterprise space in New Zealand. The CED research is being informed through 100 face to face interviews with social enterprise and CED practitioners, and will provide a deeper exploration of the success factors, challenges and needs of social enterprises from the grass roots.   Dorte and I have now completed the 100 interviews with CED and social enterprise practitioners from around New Zealand. It has been fascinating to gain a sense of the regional similarities and differences. I look forward to the data analysis to see what is emerging and writing a report that will provide a snapshot of CED activity at this time. Big thanks to all of you social entrepreneurs who participated in the CED research, your contribution is much valued. 

SENZ update


The Social Enterprise New Zealand (SENZ) Establishment Board is currently seeking foundation partners to establish SENZ as a national network, along the lines of SEUK, Senscot (Scotland) and Social Traders (Australia). 
 
It was interesting to see that the OCVS research showed that 65% of social enterprises said that they would benefit from some external advice and support.  From the CED research interviews, I am seeing that the need for support differs depending upon both the scale and stage of development of the initiative. Small start-up SEs are usually challenged by lack of access to both advice and financial resources. Larger more established SEs tend to have developed internal expertise and may also draw on their cash reserves for new initiatives. 
 
I continue to be clear that there is an important role for a social enterprise national network to help facilitate connections and opportunities for peer learning – and maybe the more established SEs can lend a hand to start ups. And all SEs can join forces to share success factors, find ways of dealing with the many challenges, and join in collective advocacy towards a more enabling policy, legislative and financial environment.

SOCANZ Conference Coming Up


After the CED Conferences on 2010 and 2011, organisers felt that the priority was to establish a national network, before running further conferences. Get the foundations in place.  So it has been great to see colleagues Viv Maidabourn and Shaun Lines initiating the SOCANZ conferences to continue to grow the conversations in this space. So… if you are a social entrepreneur looking for more connection, want to get inspired, energised and develop skills, or want to know what is happening in the current Social Entrepreneurship space, then you should be at SOCANZ 2013. Not only will you hear from international and local thought leaders who are working in this space and sharing their stories, but it will be catalyst for new conversations, collaborations and exciting decisions to be active in your community. The speaker line-up is filled with those who have taken the risks, achieved real success and in some cases failed spectacularly on their journey. They are committed to share these stories, celebrate these successes and encourage others to make a positive difference with their communities. Go to www.socanz.co.nz to view the programme, the speaker line up and to register ($395 + GST for 2 days).  
 
An important part of the conference is the three Master Classes where you can focus deeply on your learning and subject matters that relate to you. Nic Frances will facilitate ‘Startup Social Enterprise and Reaching Scale’, Natalie Nicholles will facilitate ‘Building a Successful Consultancy Business’ and George Housakos will facilitate ‘Beyond the Affordable Housing Crisis – Communities Solving The Problem’.  Each Master Class will be limited to 20 participants and run from 9.00am till 3.00pm allowing in-depth exploration of the subject matter, case studies and we guarantee challenging questions. The sessions will be deliberately intensive and not for the faint-hearted.  Cost for each Master Class is $300 + GST.

ANGOA/MoH Social Bonds Roadshow


The Ministry of Health are currently exploring the implications of social bonds (often called social impact bonds) as an alternative contracting tool. ANGOA is running a road show around NZ to explain the social bonds concept – and to receive feedback from the community sector on the idea. 
 
Social bonds will only work where measurement is possible. This how they work; non-government investors provide investment to social service providers – who are confident they can achieve a measurable outcome (e.g. reducing re-offending rates). The government pays a reward on performance to the provider – who can then repay investors, with interest. Government wins (the outcomes achieved have saved them considerable money), the investors get a financial return, and relevant providers have access to a new source of funds. Sounds attractive – but it is early days for social bonds (the first bond was issued in UK in 2010) so no proven record, or learnings emerging as yet from global trials. 
 
My sense is that social bonds will have a relatively narrow application – as so much of the work in the community sector cannot be measured in simple ways. The main concerns raised at the session that I attended were around government transferring risk to social service providers, if outcomes cannot be achieved. Possibilities of risk sharing arose, but it is early days and the detail is yet to be developed – I guess the devil may be in the detail! 
 
ANGOA will be using the feedback from the seminars and survey to prepare a report back to Treasury and Ministry of Health on the community sectors response. There are of course both benefits and risks that need further exploration. At this stage the government has approved a pilot – dependent upon a viable business case being developed. You can find the slides from the presentation here  
 
ANGOA have also set up a survey monkey here and if you are interested in taking a more active role into the research on the feasibility of social bonds in NZ then you can respond to the notice on GETS or you can email socialbonds@kpmg.co.nz.
 

DIA host Axford fellow working on social enterprise and youth 


Some of you may remember social financier, Laura Benedict, Ian Axford fellow who spent a year here sharing ideas about social lending. A colleague of Laura’s, 2013 Ian Axford Fellow, Mary Jo Kaplan is now in New Zealand to work on opportunities for social enterprise and innovation to engage and develop youth.  Mary Jo is from Providence, Rhode Island based, and is based at MSD in Wellington. She is here in collaboration with the ASB Community Trust.  In the States, Mary Jo leads Kaplan Consulting, a firm that is focused on strategic impact and multi-sector collaboration and she also teachers social enterprise and nonprofit strategy at Brown University. Mary Jo welcomes opportunities to connect with anyone involved in related issues and interests.  You can email her at MJKaplan@Kaplanconsult.com or phone 027 521 7475
 
 

NZ Schools of Social Enterprise in 2013

 

Social Enterprise Institute


The Social Enterprise Institute (SEI) is being established by social enterprise practitioner and CEDNZ Trustee, Lindsay Jeffs, to identify, support and encourage New Zealand’s not-for-profit sector to explore social enterprise opportunities to create wealth. Following the success of last year’s programme which helped participants establish several new social enterprises in both Christchurch and Auckland, as well as the formation of local social enterprise networks in both cities, applications for the 2013 programmes are now open.  Potential participants can either contact Lindsay Jeffs directly on 0274351732 or go to the Social Enterprise Institute website to enrol.
 

Social Entrepreneurs School

At the NZCSI Social Entrepreneurs School the vision is to support and enable social entrepreneurs throughout New Zealand in finding solutions for the country’s most pressing social needs. After feedback and reviewing the 2012 program, NZCSI are looking at reframing the program into a Changemaker 101. This is a shorter version of the 9 month program held last year and is specifically designed to be delivered in partnership with community in a time frame best suited to a social entrepreneur. For further details please go to www.nzcsi.org or contact Anna Love at anna.love@nzcsi.org
 

Local Living Economies 

As events close to home and around the globe point to continued fragility in financial systems, and the effects of our resource consumption bring about ever greater impacts, the message is clear: Business as usual needs a rethink. 
 
Living Economies offers real-value alternatives to loans, interest and chronic debt through:
  • Savings pools Why pay interest? Create a common reservoir.
  • Local money Cash-flow problem? Cash is the problem.
  • Food pools We can get a lot more mileage out of our meals.
  • Time banks Build healthy communities – one hour at a time.
The Living Economies Educational Trust has been up and  running for over a decade now, and has made considerable strides in promoting, facilitating and demonstrating systems of cooperative exchange which enrich all their participants. They have an online shop online shop with excellent resources. 
 
Check out People Money: The Promise of Regional Currencies Margrit Kennedy, Bernard Lietaer and John Rogers, 2012. 
 

 


Iceland’s Hörður Torfason to visit NZ

During the height of the global financial crisis in 2008, multinational banks used the IMF to pressure Iceland's Parliament to pass laws which would use public funds to bail out banks which had become insolvent through reckless speculative activity. Hörður Torfason organised a peaceful citizens' movement to question, oppose and ultimately overthrow the government. A new constitution was drafted with input from all parts of Icelandic society. The banks were forced to pass their losses to their shareholders instead of the public. Large amounts of private debt were forgiven, criminal charges were laid against those responsible for the meltdown, and Iceland has regained a measure of economic stability without sacrificing its sovereignty. For dates to see Hörður Torfason see events section below or go here for more information.
 

Report from Global Shifts Conference in Melbourne

I was keen to attend this conference in Australia in December, but was short of funds, so had a crack at crowd funding – using Givealittle. And it worked to an extent. So big thanks to those who contributed to help me to get to Melbourne and soak up some international and  Aussie wisdom. Now for a brief summary- my part of the bargain.
 

Bunker Roy and the Barefoot College

Of all the speakers I found Bunker Roy to be the most inspiring. He created the Barefoot College in India for the poor.  Bunker is opposed to formal “elitist” education. At the Barefoot College no degrees or paper certificates are allowed! Any endorsement comes from the community being served.
 
The Barefoot College is most well-known for teaching illiterate grannies from rural villages to be competent solar engineers – in just 6 months.  Bunker maintains that men are largely untrainable! The programme has enabled hundreds of Indian villages to be solar powered – at the same time as enhancing the value of women in these communities. It is a remarkable story. The programme has now been extended to Afghanistan and Africa. A Bunker Roy Ted talk is well worth a visit here
 

The Solution Revolution

Pamela Hartigan, Director of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford University's Said Business School had some interesting global insights. She said we are moving from “social entrepreneurship” (noun) to social entrepreneuring (verb).  That it is no longer about idolising heros like Bill Drayton and Muhammad Yunus – but an activity that we can all participate in as citizens in our various communities. I liked this viewpoint that links democratisation and entrepreneuring. Pamela said this space is not a field, profession or sector – but a new lens or mind-set. Pamela used the term “Solution Revolution” to describe what is emerging – beyond the “dichotomy” to a solution focus, with all “sectors” being part of the solution. 
 

Gross National Happiness Centre 

The Gross National Happiness Centre in Bhutan aims to demonstrate a simple and sustainable way of life in harmony with nature utilising holistic measurement over nine domains. Interesting…See more here
 
These were my top picks. There were many other wonderful speakers. Here is the link to the Global Shifts Conference website 
 

 


Conference themes

 

Transformation of Capitalism

A principle theme at the conference was that social enterprise is paving the way for the transformation of capitalism – that the Global Economic Crisis challenged our value system, and people are now looking for “good capitalism”. A transition is occurring from both ends of the spectrum from charities to social enterprise and “for profits” to social enterprise
 

Does Size Matter?

Scale was a significant conversation. When does size matter? Is small ever beautiful or is impact dependent on scaling up? Presenters said that it’s about scale of impact – not just scaling for size. As we know, scale can make organisations inflexible, slow to respond and inhibit freedom to criticise mainstream. However, there are ways of responding to this challenge.

Social franchising can create scale that that is not about command and control (e.g. McDonalds), but more collaborative. It is also possible that large social enterprises can have local leadership, internal delegation of power, local budgets, and some local autonomy.  Size also creates influence and access to politicians and media. Kevin Robbie hit the nail on the head for me when he said that it is about whether the decision to scale (or not) fits with the organisations purpose. 

 

Social Procurement

Social procurement emerged as a major opportunity for social enterprises to access more markets. For purchasers (e.g. local councils) smaller contracts are an opportunity to test social benefit and buy local policies, less risky than bigger contracts. We need to be able to assess and demonstrate impact to win over officers and politicians – and there is a need for intermediaries to broker the conversations. Social Traders is playing a role in Australia as well as Supply Nation, the indigenous business supplier council.
 


A couple of gems…
 
From Ego-System to Eco-system
I loved the phrase “From Ego-system to EcoSystem”. The “eco-system” around social enterprise is evolving fast in Australia – there is a proliferation of support agencies and networks emerging. This was seen as a sign of maturity and vital to the growth of the space.  This space is not about individual glory – but how we can move forward together, beyond old ways of empire building, silos and suspicion of “other”.
 
Your own pigs don’t stink! 
It emerged that we need both bottom up and top down initiatives and energy; that  
social change happens because of people power, but government can foster an enabling environment. One presenter said that “your own pigs don’t stink!” -referring to wind farms in Germany becoming  acceptable to local people- when they are owned by the community, not by an energy  corporate. A previously perceived “scar on the landscape” can transform into a vision of beauty – when there is community ownership and benefit involved. 
 

Where is it all heading in Australia?

Conference speakers indicated that the future will include:
  • Increasing visibility/brand awareness of social enterprise (like Fair Trade) 
  • Support for intermediaries/growing an ecosystem
  • Government strategy and regulation to support social enterprise (Obama administration has an Office of Social Entrepreneurship).
  • Social enterprises as employers of choice
  • Local solutions in a global way through international global platforms
  • Demand driven investment – matching capital to need; social stock exchanges to attract capital; Investor education (e.g. Global Investment Network) link
Future challenges will be:
  • Resisting definitions, it  ties us up in knots –  focus on purpose instead
  • Loss of momentum, we are on a roll, can we keep the energy going?
  • Filling gaps in finance for social enterprises
  • Finding ways to  fund and resource intermediaries/networks
  • Getting  over tall poppy syndrome
  • Avoiding “fanfare” – keep an eye on purpose
  • Providing development support for investment readiness
  • More awareness raising and practical evidence
  • Re funding: understanding demand first, before working out supply (We tend to build a fund and push it out, doesn’t work well) 
  • We don’t know how to measure impact, lots out there – important to collect data, even if don’t have framework yet.
Some key opportunities are:
  • Social procurement to open up markets for social enterprises
  • Networks and alliances
  • Celebrate champions and achievements through social enterprise awards
  • Businesses have much to offer
  • Social Enterprise as a response to the Global Economic Crisis
  • Finance: The right capital for the right purpose; Impact investing – for both social/ environmental impact and financial return; pension funds utilised for social enterprise  investment
  • Recognising a spectrum of market based enterprising innovation
  • Enable people to create wealth for themselves
 
It seemed to me that most of the above is as relevant to New Zealand as it is to Australia. It was great learning more about the Aussie scene and making some connections, and thinking about opportunities for collaboration.  
 
The overall mood of the conference was that we are at the dawn of BIG CHANGE. Dr Samdu Chetri from the Gross National Happiness Centre left us with this thought… 
 
“We are not human beings trying to be spiritual, 
We are spiritual beings trying to be human” 
 
That’s all from me for now, wishing you all the best in your various socially just and enterprising adventures

Di Jennings
Convenor, CED Network
 

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