USE IT! Social Entrepreneurs Programme Launched

USE IT! is an exciting and innovative 3 year programme, launching in early 2017, to create a new ‘place-based’ community of social entrepreneurs and like-minded individuals who want effect positive change to tackle poverty and social isolation in their local neighbourhoods across West Birmingham and Sandwell.

There is a key focus on social enterprises, community-rooted entrepreneurs and social producers trading in areas such as:

Education          Food and catering          Health

Technology        Tourism


The programme has been specifically developed to support participating entrepreneurs and enterprises to solve local social and economic issues, enable skills development and open up new markets for the ethically-based goods and services they deliver. As an outcome of the capacity-building and knowledge sharing delivered through the programme, USE IT! participants will create employment opportunities and improve social and health outcomes for individuals.

Social Enterprise Propeller (SEP)

This element of USE IT! provides a range of expert modules delivered by the programme partners and covering essential topics to enable participants to develop the skills to run a sustainable enterprise.

Support is delivered through workshops, one-to-one support and group events:

Access to finance          Employment opportunities          Peer mentoring

Pop-up events          Sales and procurement support          Start-up support

Scale and growth advice and guidance         Social enterprise awareness briefings


An online platform providing support, resources, information and connectivity for the USE IT! network where participants can exchange, share and collaborate. Content will be developed by iSE and the USE IT! delivery partners with participants being able to dynamically add relevant resources through uploading documents, blogs, reports, templates and research materials creating accessible knowledge wealth.

USE IT! Challenge

An intensive challenge programme to stimulate existing social enterprises to develop new business ideas from within market growth areas including health, tourism, education and manufacturing. Delivered as a 2-stage process, starting with a business pitch then filtering 6 finalists into the second stage that will incorporate a highly intensive 2 day ‘lock in’ to produce a final business case detailing their initial idea. The awarded enterprise will receive £3,000 as the USE IT! Challenge winner.

TRY IT! Grant

This start-up grant, funded by UnLtd, is aimed at individuals who are looking to try out and develop their social enterprise ideas that will identify real solutions to local area and community issues.


Applications from social enterprises and social entrepreneurs who wish to take part in the USE IT! programme, challenge and grant will be opening in early 2017.

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USE IT! is delivered through a partner network including iSE, Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, University of Birmingham, Health Exchange CIC, Co-op Futures, Localise WM, Citizen Coaching CIC and Smethwick Can, and has been facilitated by Birmingham City Council.

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This project is co-financed by the European Regional and Development Fund through the Urban Innovative Actions Initiative.