Nick Hurd Visits the iSE Office

A number of Birmingham-based social entrepreneurs met at our offices in Digbeth yesterday for a working lunch with Nick Hurd, the Minister for Civil Society.

Nick visited four organisations during his day in the second city and we were fortunate enough to host the lunchtime slot, choosing social enterprise Concept to provide the catering (which was delicious).

There was plenty of energy in the room with representatives arriving from across the sector ranging from health, disability and social care to the environment, young people and manufacturing. Alongside those celebrating over 50 years operating in the sector were smaller enterprises in their early phase of development, so overall a very diverse bunch!

Over lunch, the Minister for Civil Society found time to discuss issues facing social enterprises in the current climate. The key issues raised were investment, risk, boards and their skills (or lack of them!) within the changing financial agenda, access to markets and access to knowledgeable social enterprise support. We also found time to explore what a perfect social enterprise support service might look like, which included the crucial elements of pre-start up support, start up, growth, access to new markets and finance and investment.

It was very worthwhile and thoroughly enjoyable.