The campaign to make Newcastle the ‘hot spot’ for social enterprise has just kicked off.The goal is simple: provide opportunities and support so that businesses can thrive and grow their bottom line profits while improving communities around them in need by investing back into our city’s most vulnerable members-its people.
The Tyneside based company – which has carved out a reputation for providing first class consultancy to not-for-profits and ethically focussed businesses since its formation in 2018 – has today launched the project to ensure Newcastle earns this new title and has called on the city’s 240 social enterprises to help achieve its goal.
Durham, Sunderland and Gateshead are already confirmed as being hot spots for social enterprise and Junction Point CIC believes there’s never been a better time for Newcastle to also achieve the title alongside its North East counterparts.
Under the Social Enterprise UK (SEUK) places programme, the CIC is spearheading a partnership with Connected Voice, Project North East, Business and IP Centre and Newcastle City Council and aims to better understand the existing offer for social enterprises to determine what future resources are required to ensure the sustainability and growth of the sector.
Junction Point CIC Director, Kate Duffy, explained:
“Seeing Newcastle as an SEUK recognised place of social enterprise is merely the first step. This new partnership symbolises a new approach to joined up support, putting social entrepreneurs’ needs at the heart of future activities.
“I don’t want to pre-empt what the outcome will be from consultation activities, but I’m excited to be working from a strength-based approach to ensure existing strengths are built upon and gaps are understood and plugged.”
Junction Point and its partners are now calling businesses to help achieve its goal of making Newcastle a thriving hub for social enterprise by taking part in a series of consultations. The initial sessions run for just one hour via Zoom and the ideas discussed will help the company create a social enterprise plan for the city.
“Our aim is to gather information to better understand what the ideal environment required for a social enterprise to flourish is”.
“The information collected will feed into a local area action plan which will detail the key aims and actions required to make this future vision a reality.”
Junction Point is keen to hear from potential social entrepreneurs and those who want to set up a social enterprise as well as organisations which deliver social enterprise activities.
Tracey Moore, Executive Director of Project North East, who has over 30 years’ of experience designing and delivering projects that support businesses and individuals, added: “
Newcastle is already home to some amazing social enterprises that are making a difference in our local communities and the wider region.
“With the social enterprise action plan, we are aiming to push the region’s social agenda forward, creating new areas of support, developing networks and building an environment where both new and existing socially conscious businesses can develop and thrive in and around our City.”
Opportunities to engage in the consultation, which is funded by The Business and IP Centre, includes an online survey, online focus groups and the Design-Thinking programme run by Northumbria University under the Creative Fuse programme.
This will all culminate in an action planning session held in early April specifically for professionals who support the Social Enterprise sector.
Lisa Goodwin, Chief Executive, of Connected Voice, concluded:
“We have been supporting community action for over 90 years, and in the last few years we’ve seen much greater interest from people in social enterprise models.
“As inequality widens and the climate crisis begins to show the collective impact of many small decisions, people are keen to think about models of business that achieve a community benefit, or a wider social purpose. It is brilliant to be able to work together with PNE and Junction Point to help create a space for these emerging social enterprise organisations to support each other and to grow together.”