CED Bulletin: November 2012

On November 29, 2012

Hello CED practitioners and supporters,

Apologies – it has been a while since I managed to get a CED ebulletin out to you. Over the last two months, I have been flat out travelling right around the country to interview CED and social enterprise practitioners for the CED research project. Since I returned from living and working in the UK three years ago, I have been integrating what I learned there into our New Zealand context and the last couple of months have helped enormously. Travelling the country, meeting inspiring social entrepreneurs and finding out what’s working, what isn’t – and what our social enterprise practitioners need to thrive – has been an illuminating time. Between Dorte Wray (Research Assistant) and myself, we have now carried out 70 interviews – just 30 to go to reach the magic 100!

Some of the highlights from our road trip have been visiting:

  • Whale Watch, Kaikoura – the poster child for social enterprise in NZ. It was so good to go there at last. Inspiring story of when railways restructuring led to local unemployment, a Maori family mortgaged their house to get this project started to create local employment. Whale Watch now earns global awards for environmental tourism and employs up to 100 local people – with many small local businesses emerging as spin offs, making a huge difference to the local economy.
  • White Stone Civic Trust, Oamaru – another great story. The Whitesone Civic Trust had a vision and decided to take ownership of old heritage buildings (that most folks saw as a liability) – to create a unique tourist destination and reinvent the town. Oamaru is a good example of community being supported by their local council to attain mutual outcomes.
  • Blueskin Energy Project, Coastal Otago - Blueskin Power is an initiative of the Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust. Most of the community energy enterprises around the country are involved in insulation programmes, Blueskin is the only one I have discovered that is working towards community owned energy generation. There are many examples of this in the UK – it is an area of significant enterprise opportunity for local communities, to provide for the energy needs of their own community  and sell excess energy to the national grid. This creates funds for further community initiatives and enterprises. It will be so interesting to watch how Blueskin develops.
  • Enspiral in Wellington are an eco-system of 85 people and 12 companies. While the core business is web development, the collective serves as an incubator for several web based social enterprises including: Bucky Box (an administration platform to make food distribution easier), Chalkle (an online marketplace for community education and peer to peer learning) and Loomio (a consensus and democratic decision making tool for groups, organisations and businesses). Enspiral use an innovative business model to deliver great value to their customers as well as supporting new business start ups. Very exciting!
  • McLaren Park Henderson South Community Initiative (MPHS) in Waitakere, Auckland – an excellent example of how an enterprising approach can help to transform a disadvantaged area. Hubwest, the community hub recently opened by MPHS is state of the art, and a genuine reflection of local people’s aspirations. It is also a base from which to develop social enterprises.
  • Skylight, Wellington are an innovative counselling service that has reinvented itself as a social enterprise and now sells quality resources both locally and globally.
  • Elevator in Auckland is a very established social enterprise that offers a wide choice of supported employment options for people with disabilities living in the greater Auckland region, through their own enterprise activity and also through their connections in the open employment market.
  • Changeability, also in Auckland, is a social enterprise under the umbrella of Connect, a mental health organisation. Changeability trades to fund the work of the parent body. Changeability specialises in change management – and is finding many of it’s customers in the private sector.
  • Xtreme Waste in Raglan is a community enterprise working in partnership with Waikato District Council to manage Raglan’s solid waste. Within just 10 years, Xtreme Waste has helped the community to divert 75% of waste from landfill and won a Green Ribbon Award. Xtreme Waste employs 26 local people. Waste is such a fertile area for social enterprise and I feel fortunate to have a great example in my own backyard here in Raglan.

As you can see from the diversity above, social enterprises are emerging and established in a range of sectors and activities including recycling, disability, Iwi and Maori organisations, arts, tourism, health/mental health, digital media, community empowerment etc. Some top of the head reflections to date are: that our social enterprise practitioners are passionate and determined people; that they mainly operate in an environment that provides minimal support and encouragement; large organisations and/or those with a track record are better positioned to access the relevant  advice, skills and finance; smaller and newer organisations are much more challenged in these areas.

I am pleased now that we framed the research around CED (that includes social enterprise, but also includes community exchange schemes as well as small local SMEs that deliver social value). I am noticing that two schools of thought and practice are emerging to date – those that are developing social enterprises to trade in existing markets, and those that think that the current economic paradigm is ultimately unsustainable and are establishing “alternative” local economies through community currencies, timebanking, savings pools etc.

I am looking forward to a more settled period in the new year to start analysing and integrating all the information that we have gathered. The data analysis will be followed by a comprehensive report that will include five case studies.

Literature Review

In the meantime, you may be interested in the CED research literature review summary, that is a quick read with some valuable information. The review explores the following key concepts:
  1. Community Economic Development (CED)
  2. Social Economy
  3. Social Enterprise
  4. Social Entrepreneurship
  5. Social Innovation
  6. Community Ownership of Assets
  7. Social Finance and Investment
  8. Social Value and Impact Assessment

… in terms of their history, theroretical frameworks and critiques, and the New Zealand context.

The document includes a table of characteristics of these key terms and concepts that you may find useful. For those of you who would like a more in depth exploration, the full version of the literature review is 112 pages long, and can be purchased for a fee of $30 plus GST and postage. If you would like to order a copy, email Lindsay Jeffs at lindsay@csbec.org.nz. We are getting into enterprise mode – walking the talk!

As Dorte and I travelled around the country, it was great to see the level of interest in CED and social enterprise.

In Christchurch, I was privileged to meet a group of ex students from the Social Enterprise Institute course who are continuing to meet to explore ways of working together for peer support and to explore mutual trading opportunities.

In Whakatane, an event was organised to coincide with our visit there. I was pleasantly surprised that 35 people turned up to explore and discuss social enterprise opportunities. Thanks to Inspiring Communities, Te Pou Whakaaro and Bay Trust who made this possible – we just had to turn up!

And in Auckland I got to go to The Feast! It was the first worldwide dinner party for social good, held on Friday 5 October as part of global social innovation week. The Feast was born out of the New York event, which gathers innovators from across industries to engage each-other in creating world-shaking change. This year more than 500 hubs popped up over the world to host their own Feast on Good. The Kitchen in Auckland played host to this event in collaboration with Curative, Innovate Change and Imminent. With an impressive guest list of champions and leaders in social innovation in New Zealand, the Auckland hub was one of the largest evening events of those across the world – and it was great fun with wonderful food from Pop Up Dining.

 

Also in Auckland, just this week I presented at one day event Social Enterprise: Navigating the Fourth Sector- that was jointly organised by the Waitemata Local Board, University of` Auckland Business School, The Kitchen and the CEDNZ Trust. This successful collaboration enabled quality knowledge exchange and really useful connections to be made. A highlight for me was the snappy Petra Kucha session in which six practitioners talked passionately about their social enterprises. There was also significant interest expressed in the development of a national network for social enterprise.

 

In Wellington I happened across the Collaboration Cafe, an informal bi-monthly café event which brings together some of Wellington’s younger social entrepreneurs to support one another in kick-starting innovative projects. I was impressed with the creative process as well as the good ideas and practical advice shared.

Also in Wellington, I was fortunate to attend the Community Recycling Network (CRN) Annual Hui. The Community Recycling Network is the representative organisation of community enterprises in recycling, reuse, composting, waste reduction and waste education. Members are a great bunch of innovative people working together to working together towards Zero Waste in New Zealand. They make up a significant proportion of the social enterprise sector.

 

A Social Enterprise Network for New Zealand (SENZ)

The above hui inspired me to continue to work with colleagues to establish a similar national vehicle, but for social enterprises across all the various sectors and activities. My time spent in the UK taught me that a practitioner led national social enterprise network (with associated regional and local activity) has an important part to play in carving the space for social enterprise in terms of awareness raising, capacity building and advocacy to develop a supportive and enabling environment for social enterprises to thrive and prosper.

This work is continuing, (a little slower than some of us would like – it is currently being driven by volunteers), but the momentum continues. Following on from  a comprehensive consultation process  involving numerous stakeholders, an Establishment Board of committed “doers” is now getting the ball rolling:  Jeannine Walsh (who helped to establish Changeability) Clementine Ludlow from the BNZ Bank, Bevin Fitzsimmons from Breakthrough Strategies, Joanne Harland (lawyer), Pat Watson from Community Waitakere – and myself. A company has been established, the business plan and value proposition are almost complete, with support from AUT students and Deloittes, and we will be seeking members and founding partners in 2013. So watch this space!

Social Finance

In the previous bulletin I mentioned a Social Enterprise Loan Fund, the Employment Generation Fund, that is based at Lifewise, in the Auckland CBD. In response to the bulletin, readers were in contact to tell us about other social loan funds of interest including:

 

The Nelson Enterprise Loan Trust that makes loans of up to $20,000 to small businesses and social enterprises operating in the Nelson region. They have been been operating since 1997 and have made $1.6m in loans to 190 small businesses with a recovery rate of 99%.

 

The Just Dollars Trust in Christchurch that also makes loans to social enterprise and small business. Just Dollars was set up in 1992 to achieve social outcomes by providing small loans of up to $10,000 to help people generate income and employment.

And while we are talking employment, take a look at dogoodjobs.co.nz – an online jobs board linking passionate, talented, “do-gooders” with job vacancies at organisations working to create social and environmental change.

 

Todd Foundation think piece on Social Enterprise and Social Finance

This is a brief think-piece from the Todd Foundation reviewing and summarising social enterprise and social finance in New Zealand. It includes three case studies of NZ social enterprises operating along different points of the charity – business spectrum and outlines their challenges and advice to funders. It’s good to see one of our funders exploring the social enterprise and social finance space. Here is the link »

 

Social Enterprise Institute Seeking Expressions of Interest for 2013

The Social Enterprise Institute (SEI) held two successful courses for budding social enterprise practitioners in 2012 – one in Christchurch and one in Auckland. SEI offers practical courses in how to start a social enterprise – including content on asset mapping, feasibility studies, business plans, marketing, financing, implementing and social value measurement. The tutor is Lindsay Jeffs from the Christchurch Small Business Enterprise who has built and managed a successful social enterprise over the last 20 year. The course has an emphasis on peer exchange and includes a number of relevant guest speakers.The SEI will be running further courses in 2013 in Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington.

Please contact Lindsay Jeffs for further information:

lindsay@csbec.org.nz

Phone 03 3669978

The Social Entrepreneurs School Applications Now Open

Applications are now open for the 2013 NZCSI social entrepreneurs (SES) school. SES is seeking bold and courageous social entrepreneurs with a cause. The programme involves group study sessions, coaching, action learning, hear from expert witnesses and gaining practical, business and life skills over 10 months. Students pay a $1,500 plus GST contribution fee towards the programme, plus travel expenses incurred. SES provides full scholarships to cover the remainder of the $15,000 plus GST programme cost. Click here to apply.

Festival for the Future

I wish I had managed to go to this event in Wellington, organised by one of our leading social innovators, Guy Ryan from the Inspiring Stories Trust. The Festival for the Future showcased the passion, vision and  projects led by some of our most innovative young New Zealanders. I hear it was inspiring. These young social entrepreneurs are our future and it is so encouraging to hear about them just getting on and doing it.

 

Social Enterprise World Forum

Another event it would have been great to be at was the recently held fifth Social Enterprise World Forum in Rio de Janeiro The conference theme and keynote address were mainly on impact investing, acknowledging the growing social investment market around the world. A summary of some key messages from the conference can be viewed here.


A Request to Givealittle

CED crowdfunds for Social Traders conference

Social Traders Australia national conference Global Shifts 2012 is being held from 12 to 14 December in Melbourne. I really want to attend to soak up the latest that is happening on the Australian social enterprise scene and to further develop relationships with the movers and shakers across the ditch, that will help to inform us as to how to grow this space in New Zealand. The challenge is – where to find the funds? It will cost around $2000 all up including registration fee (at a reduced rate), fares and cheap accommodation. The CEDNZ Trust has offered to contribute half of that amount, and SENZ Establishment Board Member, Bevin Fitzsimmons has kindly added $100 to the cause. This generosity prompted us to consider crowd funding to enable me to find the remaining funds to attend this conference. So…

If you would like to contribute to this CED cause, please Givealittle here »

Anyway, it’s hard to believe, but Christmas is approaching fast – I am going to aim to find the perfect gifts at social enterprises – the Trade Aid Shop, charity shops or environment and recycle centres etc. An opportunity to give our social enterprises a seasonal boost.

I borrowed the following quote from the Senscot newsletter, couldn’t resist it: “So let us solve the great problem of our time, the disease of excessive size and uncontrollable proportions, by going back to the alternative to both right and left – that is, to a small-scale social environment with all its potential for global pluralistic co-operation and largely unaffiliated self-sufficiency, by extending not centralising control but by decontrolling locally centred and nourished communities, each with its own institutional nucleus and a limited but strong and independent gravitational field.”

- Leopold Kohr (Austrian Economist)

 

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

di@ced.org.nz

 

 

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