'Social enterprise' is the key to future prosperity

Published: 2 May 2008 at 15:33

Mission to combine business methods with ethical approaches.

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Social enterprise and community engagement experts from Anglia Ruskin University’s Ashcroft International Business School will facilitate a day of discussion and learning for leaders of ‘not-for-private-profit’ organisations including social enterprises, charities, & and community groups, and co-operatives – which together make up the 3rd sector, as distinct from public or private sectors.

The ‘3rd Sector Futures’ event, on 22 May at the Michael A Ashcroft Building, on the University’s Rivermead campus will allow representatives from these organisations to address some of the strategic and practical issues they need to overcome as they bid to enhance overall prosperity. 

The centrepiece of the event is a debate between Craig Dearden-Philips, Social Enterprise Ambassador, from Speaking Up!, and Debra Allcock-Tyler from the Directory of Social Change, who will be discussing how far charities need to adopt business methods to ensure their future, and whether the future of ‘enterprise’ is in fact ‘social enterprise’. 

Workshops will be staged during the day to discuss, among other topics, methods of income generation, knowledge transfer projects which the university can support, and legal matters.

Social enterprise has received support from all the main political parties, with Prime Minister Gordon Brown recently quoted as saying:

"By bringing back into the economy people who were previously excluded, or by improving the environment, social enterprises are enhancing prosperity and social justice together."

Speaking about the event, Andrew Brady, Programme Manager for Social Enterprise at the Ashcroft International Business School, said:

"I have been overwhelmed by the response to 3rd Sector Futures - already 'sold out' with over 120 bookings. Anglia Ruskin has been working with charities and social enterprises for many years, but we thought it was time for a large scale conference, to test the water, and really put our joint working on the map."

"I am really excited about this event for two reasons - people are recognising just how important the 3rd sector is, and those who work within it have clearly got a great desire to make things happen. We are confident that this event will spark the start of a whole new series of collaborations between the University and 3rd sector organisations which want to play their part in shaping the region's future.’

The Ashcroft International Business School established its third-sector futures initiative to bring together its training, research and consultancy services on all aspects of this increasingly important component of the UK’s economy.

As well as the Ashcroft International Business School, the event is being sponsored by the Economic and Social Research Council and Social Enterprise East of England. Anglia Ruskin’s other funders for 3rd sector work  include The Learning and Skills Council, and EEDA, through its Investing in Communities programme in Essex.

For more information on the event or 3rd sector futures, contact Andrew Brady on 0845 196 6888, or visit:www.3rdsectorfutures.co.uk