USE-IT! Project Urban Innovation

The USE IT! Project launched in 2017 with funding from the  EU (ERDF) Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) programme to deliver USE-IT! (Unlocking Social and Economic Innovation Together). The UIA programme provides urban areas throughout Europe with resources to test new and unproven solutions to solve their urban challenges.

The aim of the project is to address the reality of poverty and underemployment amongst indigenous and migrant populations in West Birmingham and Smethwick.

Asset-based approach

The project uses the social, cultural and educational micro and macro assets already present in individuals and communities 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.

Project partners

The project takes a multi-discipline approach and is delivered through a consortium approach with project partners including Birmingham University, Birmingham City Council, BVSC, Co-operative Futures, Canal and River Trust, Birmingham City University and Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce.

Social Enterprise Support

The USE-IT! Project is coming to an end in December 2020. Support available from iSE through the programme to grow and start social enterprise are:

The FUSE start-up programme – a 6 month intensive peer-led enterprise propeller programme to support the growth of new social enterprises

The USE-IT! Challenge – A 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.

The Soho Social Enterprise Network (Soho SEN) – A regular network meeting for organisations and groups operating in the USE-IT! area, providing the opportunities for collaboration and growth.

1-1 business growth support – bespoke consultancy services for existing social enterprises that want to develop new services, become more sustainable or grow.

To find out more about the USE-IT! Project visit the microsite here