Network Coordinator Amerie Rose shares her thoughts, as we transition from the reflections of our anniversary year celebrations, toward planning for Plymouth’s future as a globally leading Social Enterprise City.


I just took a peak at what Ecosia threw back at me when I posed the search question, ‘2033 Future Proof’.

There were some good solid landing places. The UK will have phased out 2G and 3G; AUDI will have halved its factory costs through conserving resources and phasing out production of its combustion models; and the UK government’s Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) will be eagerly anticipating the end of a ten year Investment Zone spend and the maturation of the inaugural Green Gilt.

I then fell down a rabbit hole. I stumbled across an AI generated predictions site which told me of a world where the Internet of Things (IoT) and wearable tech will ‘painlessly and frequently test your unique DNA every time you try to access their services’.

Fortunately, I was pulled back out by Mr Wolf who was quietly and insistently in my aural background reminding me that, ‘…the world is creaking under the strain of this in-ordinarily complicated mass of humanity…’ and that it would be a good time to remember, ‘…what you came here for, what you came to be a part of.

More than any other time in my working life, in Plymouth I feel a part of something far larger than my own daily world. Through my unique lens, I see a place where the ‘complicated mass of humanity’ is slowly but surely organising itself around a coherent and interconnected vision of a future that people not only want to be a part of but are proactively co-creating. I sit in the centre of my PSEN web and see a network of people, projects and ideas that stretches out further than my own threads could ever be cast.

Who knows where I and we will be in ten years time? Year on year, I find myself amazed and in awe of all that is happening and questioning the influence my one life can have in the face of eight billion other people who have ideas about how it should be. And so, to engage in a way that is meaningful, I tend to my bit by weaving in what I can, tying together detached parts and creating new connections. I find myself dancing between ‘following the breadcrumb trail’ and ‘working on my nets’. Let me explain both these metaphors…


Following the Breadcrumb Trail

Relevance (noun): Its importance or significance in that situation or to that person.
(Collins Dictionary)

Since abandoning my known world and moving to West Devon, I have actively embraced what I call ‘The Breadcrumb Trail’. It is a belief that somewhere deep inside, I have got a clue what I am up to. I trust that, if I remain vigilant to what seems relevant, the path will continue to emerge and will continue to lead me to fortune. Sometimes it may feel as though I am lost in the woods, but sometimes that is exactly what is needed to get to where I actually need to go. When Hansel laid his path of bread, his intention was that it would guide he and Gretel home. But the bread fed the forest creatures instead. So all they had left was an invisible path, which – eventually – led them to their fortune.

It turns out that ‘Breadcrumb Navigation’ is also ‘a thing’ out there in tech. It is your compass, your anchor point, and they say we should all be using it to make our digital spaces more accessible. However, I am not sure that those who have adopted this term have ever actually read the original fairytale. Those who have may be concerned what the digital equivalent of a ‘bird’ might be, and whether all ‘Mr Wolfs’ are to be trusted.

What is clear from my foray into 2033 predictions, and my own sense of what is to come, is that to second guess humanity would mean allowing my ego to drive me off a cliff edge into insanity. The Breadcrumb Trail has done me well so far. It brought me to Plymouth, it embedded me in PSEN, and through this I have been nourished with the validation that there is, in fact, a small but relevant part I can play with and contribute to this world.


Working on my nets

Network: noun – a system of things which are connected and which operate together;
                 verb – to meet new people who might be useful to you in your job.
                (Collins Dictionary)

Like all other networks, Plymouth Social Enterprise Network’s functionality rests in being a network within a network of networks.

The core team who deliver PSEN have two primary purposes: 1) to coordinate the existing network (noun) of Plymouth’s social enterprises. 2) To activate the network through providing opportunities for the network (noun) to network (verb). Through these activities, PSEN create and maintain the pathways which connect our members to each other and to the wider networks which PSEN have access to.

To maintain PSEN’s relevance through to 2033, we need to ensure that every social entrepreneur in Plymouth can see themselves reflected, resourced and represented by PSEN. As we go forwards, the core team will continue to work proactively on relationship development with the people and projects who are operating in Plymouth but who may not currently identify themselves with our core mission. We call this Building Bridges and Pathways.

To forge a new path on unchartered ground takes a lot of resources. When we don’t have that resource to hand, we can only follow the pathways that have already been created by those who have gone before. The PSEN core team tend to those pathways and clear the way for them to interact, thus enabling access to the learning and opportunities that have already been set in stone.

It follows that the more diverse our network of pathways is, the less likely we will get stuck in tried and tested ways and the more likely we will discover pathways anew. The diversity of our network reaches far across peoples, communities, sectors, ambitions and geography. As a network, PSEN are focussed on realising a more socially enterprising economy that helps to create a more equal world with zero poverty, and zero carbon emissions. We cannot do that unless we create a system whereby everyone in Plymouth can #BePartOfTheSolution. We call this Diversity by Design and we will be bringing greater resource to this work-stream over the coming year.


Where do we go from here?

When PSEN’s primary purpose is enabled, we look forward to innovating further into a third space: 3) Casting our net.

In 2024, the core PSEN team will be delivering activities which will open up new social investment opportunities and taking steps to ensure that we have a Future Workforce who are ready to take on the challenges and opportunities of the next ten years and beyond. We will be curating partnerships between our members so that they are #StrongerTogether and reaching out to communities and businesses who are looking to become part of our movement. We will be further placing Plymouth on the world map as a city to be learned from by bringing in national and international visitors for knowledge exchange and partnership development.

Over the past ten years, Plymouth has proven itself as a place where we are #DoingBusinessDifferently and making a real, positive difference to people and planet. Over the next ten years, let’s continue to coordinate and activate our network of networks and ensure that our pebbles on the path are noticed far and wide by all those who are both lost and found in the woods.


Amerie Rose
Network Coordinator and Activator




Plymouth Social Enterprise Network