Posted by: socialtraders | March 16, 2011

Social Enterprise Mark

Apply for the Social Enterprise Mark and get 3 months FREE social media support:

That is the opening offer made by Social Traders CIC as the company welcomes its new role as one of a new breed of referral agents for the Social Enterprise Mark company. The recent increase from the flat rate of £99 up to £350 – £10k per annum is the new cost of securing the prestigious award. There is likely to be much buzz again about the Mark at the upcoming Voice11 conference at London’s O2. Scores more social enterprises, including start-ups for the first time, are expected to join more than 370 other UK businesses that are already displaying the Mark on their products giving assurance to customers that they are driven by social or environmental objectives and are trading to benefit people and planet.

“You can make your customers even more proud of buying from you. As a Social Enterprise Mark holder, you can promote your social enterprise credentials to your customers simply and clearly. The Mark’s robust criteria will also immediately differentiate you from the competition when you bid for contracts.” declares the SEM company.

Using social media to attract new applicants for the Mark, it is hoped that the offer of free social media support, using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube etc will meet the needs of social enterprises keen to keep pace with the acceleration of global marketing move toward dynamic customer responsive media.

Bob Northey, Director of Social Traders, says ‘Our free-to-view interactive Google map of all Social Enterprise Mark holders continues to be a popular choice for both consumers and researchers and has attracted over 2,700 subscribers since its creation in February 2010.

Social Traders CIC also provides a popular one-day training programme in Social Media and offers monthly support packages aimed at social enterprises.

Posted by: socialtraders | March 5, 2011

UK Directory of Social Enterprise Networks is published online

The first UK Directory of Social Enterprise Networks™ was published online 1st March 2011 by marketing and social media consultants Social Traders CIC. The free directory listing includes over 50 local, regional and national networks and highlights the proliferation of local social enterprise networks that have been established reflecting the significant growth of the sector across the UK.

Most social enterprise networks operate on a free membership basis and offer training, organise events such as seminars and trade fairs and provide practical grassroots support. The new listing identifies the local area and provides a direct website link to each social enterprise network. In addition each network is also shown on a customised Google map showing the location of every network.

Bob Northey, Director of Social Traders CIC hopes the directory will become a useful resource in the interests of collaboration at a time when established infrastructure support organisations are facing considerable financial restraint. He said ‘Our research has identified some really good practice at the local level demonstrating Big Society and I think networks can really learn from one another about how best to meet the needs of new social entrepreneurs and established social enterprises’

Social Traders welcomes the addition of new networks and plans to develop and promote the directory over the coming months. The Directory is found at

Posted by: socialtraders | July 9, 2010

Social Media for Civil Society

Social Media for Civil Society is one day training programme delivered by Social Traders CIC that provides a unique opportunity for people with responsibility for marketing to find out about the benefits of using free social media tools, such as Facebook, Twitter, Wordpess and LinkedIn to market their social enterprise or community organisation.

Civil society represents all organisations in the traditional not-for-profit sector and includes social enterprises, social firms, community interest companies, charities, companies limited by guarantee, co-operatives, development trusts, village halls, housing associations.

Each programme offers up to 10 places in order that participants will gain the most from both the learning module and the online starter session. This ensures that your organisation begins to benefit immediately from using social media. A basic working knowledge of the internet and email is required.

So whether you are a social entrepreneur, community volunteer, trustee, charity representative, company director or co-operative member this programme is designed for you.

Check out for more information

Posted by: socialtraders | May 21, 2010

Social Enterprise Maps

Social Traders promote 500 social enterprises with Google maps

Every business has been given an amazing offer not to be missed. It’s called Google Places, and in exchange for a free Google account and ten minutes of your time, each enterprise is given a place on the Google map anywhere in the world. On this place page you can add your organisation logo and provide details of how to contact, services you provide and opening hours.

Social Traders is recommending all social enterprises to take advantage of this free promotional tool. You can find out more about Google Places here.

Google maps can also be created to show locations of multiple organisations, including social enterprises. Since April 2010 I have started to create and publish a series of maps promoting social enterprises. These include a very popular map showing the location of over 200 Social Enterprise Mark holders, a map of all UK registered Social Firms and most recently a local map showing all Community Interest Companies (CICs) in Cornwall, UK. With promotion through social media and online news these maps have already been used by over 2500 unique visitors.

Social Traders was set up to promote and market social enterprises locally, nationally and globally. It’s my view that Google mapping has gifted the sector with a smart way to attract new customers through this latest web technology, providing visibility to our often hidden sector and increase awareness of the services, facilities and goods provided by every single social enterprise.

If you have ideas how to develop these maps I’d love to hear from you

All maps produced through Social Traders are also viewable through

Posted by: socialtraders | May 4, 2010

Social firms now on the Google map

The ‘Just Buy’ campaign launched in April by Social Firms UK invited consumers to buy on a regular basis from their local social firms.   This campaign inspired me to create another Google map following the success of my Social Enterprise Mark map using the latest mapping tools provided by the popular internet search giant.   My latest map was launched today in partnership with Social Firms UK and can be found at .  It’s been fun to work with Sara McGinley as Social Firms UK to get the map created, checked and launched.  We have plans to build the ‘Just Buy’ campaign and make full use of this latest map.

The on-line map provides details of more than 140 social firms participating in the ‘Just Buy’ campaign and registered with Social Firms UK.  Social firms are businesses that trade for social or environmental purposes, reinvesting their profits back into the company, but most importantly they also create valuable employment opportunities for many hundreds of people with disabilities.  Social firms run coffee shops, laundrettes, mail and packing services, horticultural services and a host of other trading activities across the UK from Cornwall to the Orkneys.

The ‘Just Buy’ campaign is encouraging everyone to support their local social firms by becoming regular customers.  The new interactive map not only locates each social firm, but offers internet users the chance to zoom in, using either the map or satellite view, and where available access the amazing 360° street view.  Now that most people have access to the internet at home, at their local library or even on their smart phones, access to Google maps is literally at our fingertips.  I want to encourage internet users to use the Social Firms map to find their nearest social firms and become regular customers and so help these social enterprises to become truly sustainable.  The map that also has links to each social firm’s website will be a valuable resource for schools and colleges enabling students learning about social enterprise to identify social firms in their local communities and regions.

Social Firms UK CEO Sally Reynolds is also very excited about the ‘Just Buy’ campaign and very much welcomes the new map and hopes that all  customers who use the new Google map will let sales staff know when visiting their local social firm.  There’s plenty more information about every social firm and more details of the ‘Just Buy’ campaign found on Social Firms UK website at .’

Check out all my maps on

Posted by: socialtraders | April 1, 2010

New! Google Map of Social Enterprise Mark holders

Using the fabulous imaging and mapping power of Google Maps I’ve created a Map of Social Enterprise Mark holders across the UK.  Many locations have amazing street views to help consumers find their local social enterprises.

View the map using this link and feel free to forward to your contacts

Google maps is one of a suite of amazing free resources provided by Google – the web’s leading search engine provider.  Using a combination of street mapping and satellite viewing one can zoom in to pretty much any location and often access the incredible street view with it’s 360 degree 3D mobile capability.

I created this brand new map using the registered business addresses of the Social Enterprise Mark holders to highlight in a visual way the geographic spread of SE Mark holders across the UK.  It was fun seeing the map grow as each social enterprise was logged and it’slocation identified.  The South West currently has the largest number of SE Mark holders due to the fact that this was the pilot area used by RISE-SW to develop the Mark.  However the Mark has already reached Scotland, Northern Ireland and much of the rest of England.  The published map also reveals some unexpected gaps, for the present, such as in Wales and especially London, but with scores of SE Mark applicants currently being accredited the map will grow and develop.

As more social enterprises are awarded the SE Mark badge these are being added.  The Google Map which is available for ‘public view’ and can be saved to your personal ‘My Maps’ for future reference.  Social Traders is in discussion with the RISE-SW and the Social Enterprise Mark company to coordinate future mapping.

Meanwhile take a tour of current SE Mark holders by zooming in to your local area and identifying your nearest approved social enterprise.  Is there street view available? It makes finding places so much easier!

The map is just the beginning, I’d like to hear your ideas about identifying different types of social enterprises, perhaps by the services or goods they provide?  We can also add photographs, logos and even video if necessary. 

To find out more about the Google Mapping project visit my new website that will host my upcoming Google Maps.  Do get in touch if you wish to collaborate.

Posted by: socialtraders | March 24, 2010

Counting Social Enterprises

The latest count of social enterprises in the UK taken in 2009 by research consultants Delta Economics has just been published under the giveaway title ‘Hidden Social Enterprises – Why we need to look again at the numbers’ (PDF Dowload 791Kb).  From the baseline of the government’s own 2007 research that estimates there are 61,800 social enterprises in the UK.  Delta now claims to have discovered another 170,200 bringing the total figure to 232,000 and, according to it’s calculations, social enterpries contribute a unbelievably massive £97bn to GDP!  There’s clearly problems with this, though I leave the questionable economics for another day.  But I do take issue over the attempt by the authors to blur the definition of what really counts as a social enterprise .

Delta’s research is based on a survey of 2121 ‘growth-oriented entrepreneurs’ with turnover in excess of £200k for more than two years.  The target group, taken from Dun and Bradstreet data and questioned in the annual survey ‘Challenges and Opportunities for Growth and Sustainablity’ (COGS), set up their for-profit businesses to ‘Make a Difference’ or as ‘Value Driven’ enterprises.  Only 3.6% (76) of businesses surveyed were in fact not-for-profit companies including 20 Community Interest Companies.

Socially responsible business, when the triple bottom line is measured and reported, is laudable but this is not social enterprise as most of us know.  It’s such a temptation for academics to jump on the band wagon and attempt to align new markets to the social enterprise movement by dressing up others in the garb of ‘good business’.  Fortunately the social enterprise sector will readily recognise attempts by pundits to masquerade private sector business as social enterprise and readily rebut the suggestion made in the report that all ‘value-driven’ business people are actually all social entrepreneurs.

If anything the report illustrates the need to maintain a robust counting methodology to preserve the integrity of the sector as we seek to shape future policy and financial resources for social enterprises throughout the UK regions.

Posted by: socialtraders | February 8, 2010

GDP and the growth of Social Enterprise

Peter Holbrook, Social Enterprise Coalition’s new CEO wants to see the contribution of social enterprise to GDP in the UK to grow from 1% to 3% by 2020 The vision for growth was unveiled during the opening speech at the annual conference of the SEC, Voice 10, that took place in Cardiff 1-2 February. This ambitious goal was set out against the backdrop of a showcase launch of the new national Social Enterprise Mark to be awarded to social entereprises that meet the criteria.

Government research carried out for the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) shows the social enterprise sector represents 62,000 businesses, employing 800,000 people with a combined turnover of £24 billion. On the face of it these figures are very impressive but do we represent an industry in which on average every single social enterprise in the UK employs 13 people and enjoys a turnover on £.387m? And what of GDP? The Cabinet Office reporteds the sector’s contribution to the UK’s GDP to be £8.4 billion based on the 2005 Small Business Survey (BERR).

As economists will explain Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is an economic calculation – the total market value a nation’s goods and services each year. The GDP formula is as follows: Private Consumption plus Gross Investment and Government Spending along with Exports less Imports. In order to validate the maths and processes three financial institutions publish the figures in US dollars; the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the US Central Intelligence Agency. In 2008 GDP in the United Kingdom amounted to $2.68trillion (IMF) thats £1.71 trillion. So first let’s looks at the maths, based on the 2008 figure 1% of GDP would have been £17.1 billion bringing a threefold increase within 10 years to well over £50 billion!

Promotors of the Social Enterprise Mark are making comparison to the growing strength of the FairTrade Mark which according to the FairTrade Foundation is now recognised by 7 out of 10 people as compared with only 1 in 5 eight years ago. However for all the marketing and promotion the value of sales within the UK was £712.6m in 2008, around 10% of the social enterprise sector! I believe we can learn much from the 25 years plus experience of our FairTrade colleagues who have developed the mark and the market on a global basis.

I want our social enterprise baseline to be validated. I ask the Social Enterprise Coalition to invite independant research to scrutinise the statistics, to ensure transparency in our aspirational claims on GDP and to establish a reliable economic measurement tool for the future. Finally I would like SEC to publish the findings in an economic report at the Voice11 conference.

Any thoughts on this?

Posted by: socialtraders | February 5, 2010

Social Enterprise Mark: The Ten Percent Challenge

Congratulations to Lucy Findlay, RISE SW and the SE Mark team for a stunning national launch on 1st February 2010 in Cardiff at Voice10 that I managed to watch live online. Having followed the journey of SE Mark from its early development in 2006 and recommended the Mark to several social enterprises here in Cornwall I am watching with great interest as the impact of the Mark is rolled out nationally over the coming months.

The Social Enterprise Mark has to date been awarded to around 60 social enterprises, mostly in the South West region under the pilot programme. There is estimated to be 5500 social enterprises in the South West region so at present the Mark represents around 1% of the market.

The goal will be for the SE Mark to reach a tipping point both regionally and nationally in order to create momentum and critical mass that brings the reward of public recognition. New Social Enterprise Coalition boss, Peter Holbrook recognises this too in his stated aim of awarding the Mark to ’several thousand social enterprises’ within the next few years.

I would suggest that to achieve any prospect of parity with the highly successful FairTrade brand, the Mark must reach at least 10% of the social enterprise sector – around 6000 social enterprises. This is a daunting prospect for the most optimistic of sales teams so it calls for the sector to support the Mark in every way.

Above all the Mark is about credibility, a badge of approval given to those clearly deserving social enterprises. It’s a celebration of the social enterprise brand – the best of its services and products. Meanwhile we await details of the national roll-out programme and transition to the newly formed company that will take the Social Enterprise Mark forward into the future.

Bob Northey
Director, Social Traders