Social Enterprise Kent
At Social Enterprise Kent, we recognise that Social Enterprise is nothing new and that many pioneering community organisations have been doing this for a long time. We, too, can claim a rich heritage of community engagement: finding work placements and jobs and training opportunities for young people, and developing a Social Care service to support the old and vulnerable in our local communities. The roots of these local enterprising programmes, geared towards addressing social deprivation, can be traced directly back to Cyril Appleton’s and John Laming’s work in the 1980’s with the Canterbury Community Guild, their founding of CADET ( Canterbury and District Enterprise Trust) and recognising, ahead of their time, that supporting enterprise was the way forward.
In these early days, local businesses, such as Pfizer, local businessman, George Wilson, as well as bankers, estate agents and newsagents participated in the YTS(Youth Training Scheme) scheme and many have continued to do so. In Whitstable, up to 40 young people at any one time were working in local businesses. The programme was hosted in a new building on the Joseph Wilson Industrial Estate and was excellent (70% success rate) for a project of its type.
One such project was “Cadetcare”. With over 850 carers, it was the only private homecare service of its kind in Kent at the time and has evolved into the current thriving All Seasons. Other projects included a cleaning company, a woodworking project and Heartstart (alongside the British Heart Foundation). All Seasons Care Services was spun off into a separate group called Enterprising Opportunities CIC in 2007.
In 2007, Enterprising Opportunities expanded its training offer by merging with Learn to..., a training provider for the Care Sector. The survival rate for organisations greatly improves in a “hub” environment, hence the move to open a Social Enterprise Hub and Conference Centre in Kent Enterprise House, 2009.
Here we are now, with the formation of Social Enterprise Kent, and in a climate where Social Enterprise is now a widely used term. We’re ready and well prepared for the next exciting instalment…
What is a Social Enterprise? It is simply a business with social objectives, which reinvests its trading profits into society.
What is fantastic about a Social Enterprise is that it can include a variety of organisations and businesses from across a range of sectors. From charities and their trading arms to community enterprises and development trusts, a social enterprise can reach a broader audience than if it were to operate as one single entity.
Putting it simply, a typical business operates by distributing profit among shareholders. A Social Enterprise will reinvest surplus funds and resources into any number of the social aims of the business.
Social Enterprise Kent is a brand name which brings together different groups with similar aims. The founding members are Enterprising Opportunities CIC, and the separate charity Kent Enterprise Trust. Having a shared brand will enable more community groups and charities to pool their resources in marketing, fundraising and business opportunities. In this way, smaller third sector organizations can reach a wider group of stakeholders at lower cost than if everyone did everything by themselves.