Our board is made up of members, voted in by members. Their responsibility is to guide the network forward and to represent our members at key events throughout the year. We also have action groups working to develop and progress key strategic aims for social enterprise in the city. If you would like to get more involved in either of those options then we would love to hear from you. Email us here

 

If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a member of the network then click here.

Gareth Hart

Gareth Hart

Director

Gareth Hart – Gareth is the founder and director of Iridescent Ideas and has been a champion of the social enterprise movement in Plymouth and the South West. He was the elected chair of PSEN for seven years 2013-2020 and chairs Plymouth’s Inclusive Growth Group. Gareth led our successful bid to become the first ‘Social Enterprise City’ in the UK and has a history of working successfully with a range of social enterprises from tiny start-ups to national organizations on issues such as governance, social investment and social impact

Why is Social Enterprise the best way to do business? Social enterprise needs to become the default for all business in the world

Michelle Virgo

Michelle Virgo

Director

Michelle Virgo – Michelle Virgo is a facilitator, educator and climate activist. She is Business Manager at School for Social Entrepreneurs Dartington, a founder director of PSEN and serves on the board of the newly created PEC Homes a project to create healthy and affordable zero carbon housing in Plymouth. Michelle has a particular interest in the systems, structures and culture that support regenerative economics. 

Why is Social Enterprise the best way to do business? Social enterprise creates value for people and planet instead of capturing it for a wealthy minority.

Louise Manico

Louise Manico

Director

Louise runs her own business Manico PR. As a sole trader and public relations professional she really enjoys working with small businesses, charities and social enterprises to help them get the message out about all the good things they do.

Why is Social Enterprise the best way to do business? Doing business with people who genuinely want to improve the local and wider community feels very different to the hard-selling, profit-driven world we’ve become used to and which has proven itself to be unsustainable. Social enterprises allow us to live and work in a way that supports what we’re doing now, as well as looking after our environment, economy and society for the future.

James Ellwood

James Ellwood

Director

James is an entrepreneur and filmmaker with a specialism in social documentary. He co-directs Fotonow CIC, and has been a PSEN board member since 2015. 

Why is Social Enterprise the best way to do business?
Social enterprise is the best way to do business because it builds community and shares the profits of business back within our communities. Across the world, and especially right now, people are looking for routes to a fairer and more equal society, and for jobs with a genuine purpose for which we can feel good about contributing to.  I believe right now social enterprise is the best way to make that happen.

Owen Finnie

Owen Finnie

Director

Owen is Co-director of Pollenize Community Interest Company. Their mission is to improve the urban biodiversity through pollinator conservation.

Why is Social Enterprise the best way to do business?
We hope one day that the business category of social enterprise doesn’t need to be used, and it is just the ‘norm’, but in the meantime it is important that we push for a more pro-social, more inclusive and regenerative economy to get us to that norm

Sarah Stevenson

Sarah Stevenson

Director

Sarah is Head of Careers and Employability and Plymouth Marjon University and member of the Certification Panel for Social Enterprise Mark CIC. She has been working in Higher Education for 9 years now and prior to that spent 12 years working for a Devon-based social enterprise in a variety of roles.

Why is Social Enterprise the best way to do business?
Why wouldn’t social enterprise be the best way to do business – who wouldn’t want to do business to do good?

Sophie Short

Sophie Short

Director

Sophie Short is Marketing & Communications Officer at Social Enterprise Mark CIC, the accreditation authority which provides credible standards for the social enterprise sector. Sophie has been involved as an active member of the PSEN network for the last few years and hopes to bring a national perspective to the PSEN Board from her experience of working with the Social Enterprise Mark network across the UK (and internationally).

Why is Social Enterprise the best way to do business?
I feel social enterprise is the future of business – as more and more consumers look to support businesses that have a positive impact on the world, social enterprise should be the model of choice for those using business as a force for good, reinvesting profits into creating social value.

Jon Blyth

Jon Blyth

Director

Jon’s interest and involvement with social enterprise evolved from co-establishing Fotonow CIC. A decades further exploration of creative learning, social engagement and social enterprise has further led me to collaborations that established St Saviours CIC in Plymouth and Arts Lab CIC. I was also a non executive director in 2014 when Plymouth Social Enterprise Network was consolidated as a CIC. My advisory roles include the board for Sound Communities CIC, Field Notes CIC, Vital Sparks among many others. Jon currently oversees the MA Enterprise and Creative Practice program at Plymouth College of Art and their Art + Social Action academic research group

Why is Social Enterprise the best way to do business?
Social Enterprise is the best way to do business because it has solutions to inequality

Ed Whitelaw

Ed Whitelaw

Director

Ed is Head of Enterprise and Regeneration for the South West at Real Ideas Organisation. With an academic background in environmental management, social economics and education, he is also a director of Billy Ruffians Brew Co., a trustee of education charity Cycle of Knowledge, a Churchill Fellow 2020 and a fellow of the RSA and the Higher Education Academy.

Why is Social Enterprise the best way to do business?
Business can have the power to heal. Heal the deep inequalities of our society, through the better distribution of power and wealth; and the power to heal our environment, through being generative, not degenerative. Social enterprise understand this and that is why it is the best way to do business.

Charles Thornton

Charles Thornton

Director

Charles Thornton is a Lecturer in Service Operations Management and Business Strategy at Plymouth Business School. Prior to working in Higher Education, Charles had a career in commercial banking.  His research interests are focused around the use of resources in product diversification strategies and resource identification.  He is currently a School Governor and sits on the Academy Trust Audit and Risk Committee

Why is Social Enterprise the best way to do business?
Social enterprises not only provide investment, growth and strong business ethics but also put money directly back into communities and society in general.

Tom Lavis

Tom Lavis

Director

Tom is the CEO of YMCA Plymouth and Director of Education at Discovery Collegeboth of which operate as a social enterprise model in their locality, based in Honicknowle, Plymouth. He is a member of the Plymouth Area Business Council (PABC) and Devon and Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, as well as serving on the CONNECT Multi-Academy Trust Board. Tom has successfully won many grants and tenders over the years to improve YMCA Plymouth’s support for their the local community, inclusive of establishing Discovery College in 2010, a sustainable enterprise model which supports vulnerable young people in our city, demonstrating a track record in social investment and social impact.

Why is Social Enterprise the best way to do business?
Social enterprises help to generate positive opportunities for investment and growth, whilst ensuring good business ethics to improve communities and society in general. Social Enterprise is a cyclical model, allowing for future development and reinvestment to ensure sustainable growth for businesses who prioritise with a moral compass to benefit others. 

Jessica Holliland

Jessica Holliland

Communications and Membership Manager

Jess is the communications and membership manager for the network. She has been working in the voluntary and community sector for almost a decade across many areas including marketing, events planning, workshop facilitation, and fundraising. She now specialises in working with entrepreneurs and third sector organisations to help them build partnerships and communication strategies that support their mission and growth. 

Why is Social Enterprise the best way to do business?
The oldest way of doing business was one that took care of your community. We’ve lost that over time and society has suffered for it. Social Enterprise is a re-imagining of that old way which allows us to take care of what’s important and build businesses we’re proud of.

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