Plymouth Social Enterprise Network AGM 20th May 2014

This is official notice of the forthcoming PSEN AGM to be held on 20th May 2014, 3pm-5pm at Devonport Guildhall. The agenda:

  1. Welcome and introductions
  2. Minutes of the last meeting
  3. Guest Speaker – to be confirmed
  4. Officers reports (Chair/Coordinator, Treasurer and Accountant)
  5. Incorporation of the network
  6. Election of officers
  7. Live link-up with Chair of Massachsetts Social Enterprise Alliance
  8. AOB

Last year’s minutes are here: Minutes_of_PSEN_AGM_2013

We are actively seeking new nominations for the Executive Committee. Committee positions are: Chair, Treasurer, Co-ordinator and three other non post-holding members. Additional members may be co-opted as needed. Nomination papers are here: Nomination-for-PSEN-Executive-Committee. Please email these to Ideally, we need these by 5pm on Friday 16th May.

Please note one representative from each Full member organization is eligible to vote at the AGM.

For catering, please can you confirm your intention to attend by emailing


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Nuts and Bolts Business Advice

Plymouth City Council is hosting two free business advice sessions for small and medium enterprises. There will be workshops on

  • food hygiene
  • finance
  • social media
  • training

and advice on all aspects of business including patents, trading standards, business rates and commercial waste.

Dates: Thursday 24th April; Thursday 24th July.

For more info or to book click here or call 01752 304141.





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GAIN Growth Fund deadline 17th April

The final date for Expressions of Interest in this round of the GAIN growth fund has been announced as 17th April 2014.

Funding is available to businesses in Cornwall, Somerset and Devon (including Plymouth and Torbay), in the form of grants of between £25,000 and £150,000 under the Smaller Grants Scheme, and between £250,000 to maximum £1,000,000 for the (imaginatively named) Larger Grants Scheme.

The funding will be available to pay for a range of things from purchasing capital equipment and specialist software, and improving business premises, to recruiting skilled employees who have the potential to transform a business – such as software developers or engineers. However, job creation is key.

Marine and Supply Chain, Advanced Manufacturing, Digital, and Environmental Technologies are the priority sectors for investment, but this does not mean that businesses in other sectors are not eligible. More information here.


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Social Value Act – one year on

It’s a year since the enactment of the Public Services (Social Value) Act which places a duty on government, councils, the NHS and other public bodies in England and Wales to consider how they might improve the economic, social and environmental wellbeing – the ‘social value’ – of a relevant area when they buy and commission services.

Social Enterprise UK has this week published a report celebrating successes so far and exploring some of the challenges. These include awareness and understanding of the Act among commissioners, something PSEN is working with Social Enterprise UK and Plymouth City Council to address. The challenges of demonstrating social value in a way that is proportionate and meaningful also receives good attention, with some interesting recommendations being made.

Find out more about the Social Value Act here or watch key speakers and proceedings at the Social Value Summit, which was held at Dartington Hall in January here.

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Big Issue Invest Social Venture Challenge

Big Issue Invest, the social investment arm of the Big Issue, has opened a second round of its Corporate Social Venturing (CSV) programme. The programme uses corporate partners to invest in, support and nurture a new generation of high potential social businesses to grow and deliver sustainable social and financial returns.

Aimed at enterprises committed to creating social impact across health, education, wellbeing, homelessness and the creative industries, the CSV Challenge is seeking up to 20 teams for an intensive mentoring programme. At the end, 10 finalists will be chosen to receive an investment of up to £50,000 each, as well as on-going support.

Interested social businesses should visit to apply. Deadline for applications is Monday 19 May 2014 at 17:00GMT.

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Win up to £10k by crowd-funding

Crowdfunder and Santander have teamed up to award prizes of up to £10k for social enterprises that galvanise the support of the crowd to get their idea’s funded with Crowdfunder. Projects need to be created and added to Crowdfunder by 30 April 2014. To find out more details visit:

You can contact Heather Forster for more information. Heather is very experienced in working with social enterprises and is a Crowdfunder Coach. She will guide you through the process and teach you how to do a successful crowdfunding campaign. Email her on

All you need to do next is load your project through this URL: Just get the basics up there so that Crowdfunder understands the idea. Add your phone number and Heather will ring you and be there to guide you, show you other similar projects, help you work out your rewards and give you all in the insider information on what works and what you need to do to get the crowd engaged.



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Local Economic Strategy for Plymouth

Plymouth Social Enterprise Network has been one of the many contributors to this strategy for Plymouth which looks forward to the Mayflower 2020 celebrations, informs the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership and forms the basis of the case for economic investment in Plymouth.

Local Economic Strategy Review 2013/14 – full version

Local Economic Strategy Review 2013/14 – highlights

Plymouth City Council Local Economic Strategy webpage.

It is our intention to continue to represent social enterprises in Plymouth throught the delivery phase of the strategy; we are already working with Plymouth City Council to embed social value in public sector commissioning and procurement and on co-ordinating innovative funding opportunities.


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Social Enterprise Investment Fund

A new Social Enterprise investment fund is being launched by Plymouth City Council to help social enterprises develop.

A fund of £500,000 is now available for social enterprises to access a bespoke support package to help their ideas become a business reality.

The fund will be a mixture of grant and loan and each investment assessed on a case by case basis. It is envisaged that £300,000 will be allocated as repayable loans and £100,000 allocated as grants and £100,000 will be allocated on investor readiness business advice. Download the flyer here.

Invitations of expressions of interest are welcome for both revenue support (between £5,000 and £10,000) or capital support (up to £100,000). Groups interested in applying for the funding under the Social Enterprise investment fund should email

The fund was launched on Monday 7th April at Network members, Effervescent‘s new base at the old Halifax Bank on Derry’s Cross, in premises made available by the Plymouth Your Space project, and which they are aiming to turn into an art gallery, rehearsal/making space, tea room, and creative business incubation hub.

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Big Potential Fund

Big Lottery Fund’s new £10 million fund is aimed at eligible voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations (VSCEs) to improve their sustainability, capacity and scale and help them deliver greater social impact for communities across England.

A grant from the fund will help VCSEs, at the very beginning of their social investment journey, to get specialist and tailored support to become investment ready.

Investment ready is a term used to describe organisations that want to grow and expand and who develop their capacity to the extent that they will be successful in gaining external (repayable) investment. This means understanding the requirements of banks and other financial institutions (investors) when you are looking for investment and it includes knowledge about how to develop business plans to secure external finance and communication with investors.

More information from The SIB Group here.


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Box of Chocolates? Lemonade? Omelette?

Life is often described using metaphor – I like food and cooking metaphors as they acknowledge the importance of transformation. The very essence of life is CHANGE. Here today – gone tomorrow, (and if it’s a box of chocolates, gone in about half an hour probably).

We need lemons to make lemonade, we smash eggs to make omelettes. We grow up, we grow old, we make mistakes and overcome challenges. Sometimes we move on from one event to another, intact and glad to be alive, wiser for our experience. But not always. Sometimes we get stuck.

StoryJug workshops help people find ways to come unstuck!

On Tuesday 8th April, in Greenbank, PSEN members StoryJug begin a brand new series of workshops at Plymouth Mind. For more information and to book a place contact Tracy on 01752 512280.

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