What does Plymouth’s Social Enterprise City status really mean?

The newly ‘kitemarked’ cities will put social business on the map. But with no funding to go with the status, will it achieve anything?

See the Guardian’s take on Social Enterprise Cities

Achieving social enterprise city status is no mean feat, according to Celia Richardson, director of communications at Social Enterprise UK. Stakeholder groups must prove that the city is committed to social entrepreneurship, and has a high density of social businesses.

“They have to write a plan for how they hoping to achieve growth and impact,” Richardson says. “Social enterprise is younger and newer than the voluntary sector. We’re trying to grow the peer-to-peer network. We’re trying to get them trading with one another.”

If city status is successful, it will lead to more activity: “There will be an increase in the number of social enterprises, an increase in start-ups, an increase in the number spinning out of private sector and public sector businesses,” says Richardson.

Yet there is no funding pot attached to city status. Achieving the kitemark is merely a marketing tool. So how useful will it prove to be?

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