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The 14th Annual Social Enterprise Festival was an immersive and interactive experience for attendees, thanks to support from the FindYourEvent app by Digitwell Solutions.
This innovative app offers an intuitive platform, allowing festival-goers to explore event listings, create personalized schedules, access real-time updates, and navigate interactive venue maps effortlessly!
Festival 2023 – Plymouth Social Enterprise City – a Decade of Impact
The 14th Annual Social Enterprise Festival took place from the 8th to the 17th of November 2023 with a diverse line up of over 20 workshops, talks, tours and member led events that celebrated the incredible contributions of social enterprises in driving positive change within the city.
This landmark event in the city’s calendar, promoted social entrepreneurship, forged valuable connections, and inspired collective efforts to address pressing societal challenges through doing business differently.
This year’s festival carried special significance as it marked the culmination of our year of celebrating a decade of impact since Plymouth was designated as an official Social Enterprise Place by Social Enterprise UK.
We welcomed visitors from across the UK Places movement and as far as Saudi Arabia & Argentina.
The Festival concluded with PSEN’s very first awards evening, recognising the organisations and individuals who have been key to our Social Enterprise City story.
Plymouth’s future as a globally leading Social Enterprise City and our plans for the next 10 years start now, and you can find out about our starting points in this blog from Amerie: Where do we go from here? 2023 to 2033: The relevance of a network.
The festival will be back for it’s 15th edition in November 2024.
The festival would not be possible without our amazing sponsors.
These organisations are showing their commitment to social impact and driving lasting change. Find out about their own journeys building a greener, fairer and better Plymouth in the Sponsor’s section below.
Our launch event was held in the magnificent Sherwell Centre on the University of Plymouth campus, with an open exhibition of our members and their impactful work, a conference style network meeting in the lecture theatre – followed up by a celebratory party with food and entertainment.
On Thursday 9th & Friday 10th November we went on ‘safari’ tours around some of Plymouth’s finest Social Enterprises with our Social Enterprise Places visitors from across the UK, along with our international guests and member representatives.
The theme of SocEnt Safari #1 was Empowering Communities. We saw in action and on location what happens when a community comes together and takes ownership of their assets.
The theme of SocEnt Safari #2 was Community Collaborators, covering what happens when people and organisations say no to competition and yes to collaboration.
PSEN’s very first award ceremony marked the finale of a very special 14th Social Enterprise City Festival.
After 10 days of events promoting and projecting the incredible success of Plymouth’s social enterprises to a wide audience (local, national and even to visitors from across the globe), it was time to look inward and take a moment to recognise the organisations and individuals so key to our Social Enterprise City story.
PSEN brought together a special team of network member talents to create a vibrant, celebratory and relaxed awards evening. Real Ideas provided a stunning venue at the Devonport Guildhall, decor and interactive table dressing was provided by the Scrapstore.
Over 100 attendees were guided through the evening by Jacqueline and Iain from Stiltskin Performing Arts who weaved their own social enterprise story through our award presentations – all presided over by our Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor Kathy Watkin.
A delicious plant based meal by The Hedgerow Hound had everyone looking for seconds, and we were treated to two rocking sets from the musical talents of Thomas Ford and Becca Langsford – plus washboard!
Our 20 main award nominees were shortlisted by the PSEN board, with the final result dependant on a public vote over 5 categories. The response was amazing, with over 300 individual voters and the winners remaining a closely kept secret until the presentation by members of the PSEN Board.
Our champions were selected from a open nominations process, with the 10 chosen awarded due to weight of individual nominations, or strength of support given by the over 50 nominators.
Main Awards (Percentage of final vote)
Rising Star Award – Jabulani Plymouth CIC (39%)
Messenger Award – Plymouth Hope (32%)
Highly Commended: Pollenize (31.1%!)
Impact Award – Nudge Community Builders (41%)
Leadership Award – Gareth Hart (42%)
Social Enterprise City Award – Memory Matters CIC (52%)
Social Enterprise City Champions
El Clarke and Ash Samuels – Clean Our Patch CIC
Nadia Millinship – Club Kombat
Jess Holliland – Various!
Gareth Thomas – Bikespace CIC
Rob Wick – ThinqTanq/Borrow Don’t Buy
Jacqueline and Iain Slade – Soapbox Children’s Theatre
Michelle Virgo – Various
Ian Smith – Food Plymouth
Chris Penberthy – PCC
Jane Hembrow and Joy Davenport – Plymouth Scrapstore
The awards evening was tremendous, full of joy, colour, creativity, passion and fun. It really highlighted why social enterprise is special and why Plymouth is the best place to do social enterprise, and why scrap table centre pieces are surely the future of awards nights!
2023 Event Line Up:
Wednesday 8th Nov
1500 – 2130
CITY FESTIVAL OPENING EVENT
Sherwell Centre, UoP
Our bumper opening event, with exhibition, network meeting, guest speakers and a celebration party!
Thursday 9th Nov
1000 – 1200
Friday 10th Nov
0900 – 1530
Plymouth Social Enterprise Safari – Day 2
Event by Plymouth Social Enterprise Network
Thursday 9th Nov
1100 – 1400
The Mossy Carpet – Interactive Exhibit
Theatre Royal Exhibition Space
Event by The Art and Energy Collective
Wednesday 15th Nov
How to start a Social Enterprise
FREE On-Line Workshop
Funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund
Wednesday 15th Nov
Social Enterprise Quiz Night!
Thursday 16th Nov
Food Plymouth – Community of Dragons
Event by Food Plymouth
Friday 17th Nov
Neudice – Neurodivergent Business Showcase
The Plot, Union Street
Event by Neudice
Friday 17th Nov
Social Enterprise City Awards
Event by Plymouth Social Enterprise Network
This festival is possible because of the hard work and generosity of the sector. We would like to offer our thanks to the amazing organisations that are sponsoring the festival this year. Do take a moment to click and see what impact they are having and how you can get involved!
If you’re interested in finding out more about sponsoring events with us, networking with like-minded individuals, and connecting with a diverse, passionate, audience then email firstname.lastname@example.org
Official Partners of the Festival:
The Rank Foundation is a philanthropic organisation and the charitable legacy of Joseph Arthur Rank (1888-1972). Rank’s thriving network of social sector leaders tackle inequality to improve life in the communities they cherish. Rank supports them through grantmaking, encouraging leaders, and developing entrepreneurial mindsets.
Rank has invested close to £5 million into Plymouth’s social enterprise movement since 2018 and we are thrilled to have their support for the festival this year.
By prioritizing these areas, businesses not only drive economic growth but also contribute to a more sustainable and inclusive Plymouth. It’s easy to see why PSEN, and over 45 of our members, have signed up.
Go South West incorporates two brands – Plymouth Citybus, and Go Cornwall Bus. We run a local bus service in tune with the local market, from students to pensioners, local residents to exploring tourists.
Go South West offers commercial, tendered and contracted bus services across Plymouth, West Devon and Cornwall, as well as the servicing, repair and refurbishment of cars, commercial vehicles, buses and coaches.
Founded in 2007, Real Ideas is a social enterprise that offers a range of services including consultancy, project delivery, research, training, and qualifications, all designed to empower others to transform their world.
Real Ideas applies creative solutions to a range of issues – solving social problems, changing spaces, breathing life into old buildings, creating new networks and customers, and igniting activity and energy.
Tamar View Community Complex Ltd. came into being due to an announcement by the MoD to vacate and dispose of its surplus stock of Married Quarters on the Barne Barton Estate in Oct 99.
A small number of local residents grouped together with a view to put together a plan to purchase the complex and retain the facilities for the local community; Since those early days the centre has gone from strength to strength and generates sufficient funds to not only meet all its revenue costs, but also to invest in the community.
Plymouth Energy Community empowers our community to create a fair, affordable, zero carbon energy system with local people at its heart. They are a charity and a social enterprise, with a cooperative ethos, run for the benefit of local people to save money, energy and increase local renewable energy generation.
Arts University Plymouth is an independent specialist university run by artists and designers for artists and designers, widely regarded as a dynamic catalyst for creative learning and social justice.
They deliver professional training and deployment plans for workplaces and organizations. This equips them with a deep understanding of climate science, the associated risks to their business models, and the abundant opportunities for leadership and positive transformation.
At NeuDICE, we support neurodivergent people to develop their full business potential and we support businesses to develop neuroinclusive cultures.
Founded and supported by people invested in MS Care, Transform MS CIC aims to deliver social purpose by leading service development, research and innovation activities to improve care of people with MS.
Willmott Dixon is a privately-owned contracting and interior fit-out group.
Since 1852 Willmott Dixon has been making a difference to communities. Long before the term ‘social value’ was coined, Willmott Dixon was carrying out charitable works in the areas in which we build.
Friends of the Festival
Food Plymouth is Plymouth’s local food partnership, serving as a central connecting hub for all food-related matters in the city since 2010. Our multi-sector award winning partnership comprises a diverse mix of agencies, organisations, businesses, community groups and individual citizens, all working together to actively promote and lobby for healthy, sustainable and affordable food as a driver for positive change.
Wonderzoo CIC is a Plymouth based arts collective specialisig in performance events, workshops, community activities and diverse history projects. They attract like-minded folk, gathering amiable people of a diverse range of talent, literary flair, creative nous and lunacy.
JCH Coaching and Consultancy works with you to cut through the fuss, find solutions that feel good, and help you get unstuck. Whether it’s a personal or professional issue that’s got you feeling tied up they can help, and in a number of ways from coaching to facilitation and consultancy – for individuals, groups or organisations.
Social Enterprise Mark CIC is an award-winning international social enterprise accreditation body, which has over ten years’ experience of providing clear standards for the social enterprise sector, defining what it means to be a genuine social enterprise.
They recognise and build the capabilities of social enterprises as competitive, sustainable businesses, dedicated to maximising social impact.