Saturday, 29 November 2014

Definition of Social Enterprise

Whilst at the Community Event at the Ambleside campus today we were asked to define 'social enterprise'.

In answering this seemingly 'easy question' we found ourselves debating that Social Enterprise is differently defined across international contexts; changes in definition appear to be dependent upon the diversity in funding policies to non-profit making organisations within different countries. Definitions have been developed by researchers, some of whom are members of EMES, and by governments. (EMES is a research network of established university research centres and individual researchers whose goal has been to gradually build up a corpus of theoretical and empirical knowledge, pluralistic in disciplines and methodologies, around "SE" concepts: social enterprise, social entrepreneurship, social economy and solidarity economy. This began as solely European in nature but is becoming more cross cultural; membership has grown to include researchers in Chile, Russia, Canada, the USA and SEA).

Despite the range of definitions, across publications and research of social enterprises there appears to be some agreement that 'such organisations are at core non-profit making, dependent upon combinations of earned income from trading and various forms of funding to maintain sustainability, are innovative in nature and often entrepreneurial in spirit, and above all are driven by social objectives'.

Our definition is that 'social enterprises are organisations who exist to make a profit which is re-invested into improving communities'. Communities may be geographically based or could be defined in terms of their shared need.

Examples of social enterprises can be found in many communities:   


At the London Early Year’s Foundation (LEYF) the ambition is to create a better future for London’s children by providing high quality community nurseries in some of the most deprived neighbourhoods across the city


In 2011, GiveMeTap was set up. The idea is simple, and changes so many lives. Every stainless steel GiveMeTap bottle you buy funds water projects in Africa and gives you free water refills on the go from over 600 of our partner cafes and shops. We like to think of this as 'Water for you. Water for Everyone'.
As well as creating a positive social impact in the developing world, with 36,000 bottles in circulation, GiveMeTap are reducing the consumption of bottled water

FROM BABIES WITH LOVE illustrates how social enterprises are developed, through spirit, where an entrepreneurial idea can come from personal experience, ethos and ethical values:

Why we began
When I had my son, watching children’s charities’ adverts and reading articles about the hardship children face all around the world, took on new depth of meaning. The tears in my eyes and the lump in my throat made me think harder about how to make a difference. Becoming a parent drove me to do more than feel sorry for these children.
I asked the question, why aren’t charities selling baby clothes and using the profit to fund their work? I couldn’t find a good answer, so I decided to do it myself.
I've always been interested in the role of social enterprise and corporate social responsibility. I thought to myself, if I can buy a beautiful baby product, for great value, with great customer service, plus the profit goes to babies in need (rather than a private owner), why would I buy it anywhere else? The answer is I wouldn’t!
So I set up from babies with love to offer more; beautiful baby clothes plus a heart warming feeling knowing that your purchase is helping other, less fortunate babies, have the fair start in life they deserve.
I hope you enjoy your purchases and the wonderful stories about the difference you are making!

Our promise are not an ordinary company; they are a social enterprise.  They promise to give 100% of profit to charity. Read more about our values, why organic is best and how we minimise our negative environmental impact."

Club Soda

Club Soda has been created to give people the support they need whether they want to cut back on their drinking or to stop all together. The company organises events for people who want to socialise without the expectation to drink, and is working on creating an online service to support its members.

BSc (Hons) Social Enterprise Leadership

The vision of BSc (Hons) Social Enterprise Leadership is to capacity-build this entrepreneurial charitable and  voluntary sector in the years to come. The programme is being designed to provide participants with the skills and attributes to become the future leaders of social enterprise organisations. Its mission is to identify young adults who are currently committed to working or volunteering in the social enterprise sector providing a seamless combination of personal development experiences, coaching and mentoring support, training and educational contexts in which they can develop their leadership qualities in terms of self, teams and groups and the workplace.
The programme is unique in that it allows students to gain work based learning from their current experiences for up to 10 + hours per week; the delivery model is distinctive model as it allows students to have a bespoke timetable that fits with the HEFCE criteria of FT status and yet be employed.

For more information on this dynamic and innovative undergraduate award please go to:

Hear about this award and what  current students think about it:

To apply for this course please go to UCAS and use course code: S356

Visit to Kendal on December 4th 2014

Students on the BSc (Hons) Social Enterprise Leadership award are currently preparing for their next learning activity. A visit to Kendal organised by Common Purpose.  They will enjoy research visits to the National Trust and Lovingly Artisan.

Many of you will know of the National Trust, who probably need no introduction here. For them to open their doors to our students providing a unique insight into how they operate will be a great opportunity. If you do want more information on the National Trust please go to:

As a complete contrast Lovingly Artisan is a local  bread making business set up by Adian Monk.

Many describe Aidan’s approach to artisan bread-making as continental in style with a wholesome northern vibe. Artisan French bread bakers have had a huge influence on his baking recipes, viewpoint and finally his career, which is now heading into its second decade.  

Aidan has always been inspired by good food and finished his education with a scholarship to Boston College of Culinary Arts in the USA.  On his return, he  was determined to open his own artisan bakery which he did in Kendal in the autumn of 1988.  Baking has been in the family for a few generations as his grandfather was a acknowledged baker and retailer. In today's world, many now might call him an entrepreneur. But just like Aidan, he was somebody that simply loved producing bread, serving and feeding hungry boys and girls of all ages within the Cumbria community.

Aidan loves his baker's world with a passion and love’s taking influences from cultures around the world, from locally farmed produce and from the veg grown in his own back garden. Aidan loves pushing parameters where cooking styles are concerned, however time-honoured baking rules are there for a good reason. All that he produces is based on simple bread disciplines - less is more,  slow is best. For more information please see:

Following visits to these very different organisations students will then have the opportunity to share discussions on leadership and personal development with Martin McLeavy, Engineering Manager, BAE Systems; Alison Park, Director, Low Sizergh Farm &Andy Wilkinson, Staff Officer to Chief Constable, Cumbria Constabulary

For more information on this fantastic award please go to

To apply for this programme please go to UCAS and use course code: S356

Students at the University Day in Ambleside

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Ambleside Community Day. Saturday 29th November 2014. 11.00 to 15.00 hrs

Come and learn more about the BSc (Hons) Social Enterprise Leaderhip course at the Ambleside Community Event on Saturday 29th November 2014. There are loads of fun activities for all the family to enjoy. Find out more at:

Address for the event is:

Contact details
The Barn
Rydal Road
LA22 9BB

The Social Enterprise team will be in the Charlotte Mason Building on the ground floor offering some fun activities, and a more serious presentation, about what we do and why we do it that way

For more on our course see


Monday, 3 November 2014

Have you ever tried to live on £15 per week?

Students on the BSc (Hons) Social Enteprise Leadership award are trying out living on £15 per week in order to learn just what it's like. The challenge was presented by staff in the delivery partnership as they work to help students realise the poverty and deprivation which social enteprises and voluntary sector organisations seek to alleviate. Have you taken the £15 challenge yet?

Working out the budget?
For more on this challenging new degree programme  please go to

A day in the life of BSc (Hons) Social Enterprise Leadership

The first university campus based day of this important new award,


was held on October 20th 2014. This blog page tells the story of the day in pictures; the enjoyment, laughter, concentration and learning are all evidenced in these great images.

Apply for this course now to secure your place on the next programme, which starts in September 2015, via UCAS, using course code: S356. You will be invited to a selection event where you will experience a few of the great activities and exercises we have lined up to help your learning.

For more details of this course go to:

Ambleside Open Day: Saturday 8th November 2014

On Saturday 8th November the course team for the BSc (Hons) Social Enterprise programme will be at Ambleside campus as part of the University of Cumbria Open Day. They will be on the ground floor of the Charlotte Mason building from 10.00 hrs to 16.00 hrs ready to answer your questions about the fantastic opportunities this course offers.

You can hear more about this fabulous new course here:
The interesting range of teaching and learning activities which are a part of this programme include lectures, tutorials, action learning sets, visits to social enterprise, public and private sector organisations and work based learning in a host organisation; the host organisation will usually be based in the voluntary sector.
To come and hear more about this programme please come to the Ambleside campus on Saturday 8th November - we look forward to meeting you.
For more information on this programme please look at the course details here:

Friday, 31 October 2014

VIDEO: Learn more about BSc (Hons) Social Enterprise Leadership

Watch our video to find out more about our unique Social Enterprise Leadership degree programme.

Academic Charles Dobson, Helen Carter of the Brathay Trust and student Daren Greenall talk about what makes the course perfect for aspiring social entrepreneurs and third sector leaders . . .

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Student visit to Carlisle

Students on the BSc (Hons) Social Enterprise Leadership programme are currently preparing for a visit to Carlisle for a day of activity organised by Common Purpose UK. They will meet at Carlisle City Council Offices for a briefing before heading off for visits to Carlisle Airport, Cumbria CVS or within the City Council. After exchanging experiences on their visits and reflecting upon the leadership they have seen at each venue they will sit down to 'cafe conversations' with Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive, Cumbria Community Foundation , Nigel Catterson, Chair, Britain’s Energy Coast  & Jason Gooding, Chief Executive, Carlisle City Council.

Common Purpose was founded in 1989 as a not-for-profit social enterprise and is an independent, international leadership development organisation. They provide people from the private, public and not-for-profit sectors with the inspiration, skills and connections to become better leaders at work and in society. Common Purpose develop an ability to work together, innovate and to thrive in different cultures - this helps people, organisations, cities and regions to succeed. Our students are privileged to have the opportunity to work with Common Purpose as part of the module delivery team and engage in a number of inspirational days with them over the three years of the award.

Find out more about Common Purpose at

For more about the BSc (Hons) Social Enterprise Leadership award why not visit our webpage at http://w

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Students meet social enterprise founder Laura Willoughby MBE

On Tuesday 7th October students on the BSc (Hons) Social Enterprise Leadership award met Laura Willoughby MBE after a stimulating talk about her latest entrepreneurial idea 'Club Soda'.

Laura talked about her journey to learn to tackle leadership challenges and said 'good leadership does not happen by accident'. She also argued that social enterprise can be charged for; we are not then dependant on funding bodies to ensure our sustainability. This was an inspiring message and will be really useful knowledge for the students in their second year module 'Developing a Social Enterprise'.

In the picture (l to r) Helen Carter of the Brathay Trust, Laura Willoughby MBE, Joanna Coleman and Andrew Lawson (students) and Caroline Wiscombe, Principal Lecturer Business (and the writer of this blog).

Club Soda is an innovative social enterprise that "wants you to be happier and healthier by helping you change your drinking, whether you want to cut down, stop for a bit, or quit. They will boost your chances of success by giving you tools and apps to track your progress, and nudges when you need help to make better choices about drinking. You can also access the know-how of their trusted experts if you need it".

Caroline is a companion member of the BII, the professional body of the licensed retail sector, who are passionate about supporting social responsibility in the consumption of alcohol. Caroline has been able to put Laura in touch with the CEO of the BII to investigate if they can work closely together to promote Club Soda's mission. I will update you on progress - in the meantime if you know a pub that might be able to host Club Soda's social events [& not completely overcharge for the consumption of soft drinks], particularly if you are in London, please put them in touch with Laura:

Laura kindly gave us permission to use the video of her talk in the course content. If you want to know more about the opportunities provided by the BSc (Hons) Social Enterprise Leadership please go to

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Social Enterprise Leader to visit the Ambleside campus

From Political to Enterprise Leadership: What Works?
Laura Willoughby MBE, founder of Club Soda - Tuesday October 7, 5.45pm to 7.30pm

An experienced public sector leader, politician, and campaigner, Laura Willoughby received her MBE aged 30 for her service to London and equality. She was a councillor in London and CEO of the Move Your Money campaign. Laura will explain how she has become a social entrepreneur to scale behaviour change for health and wellbeing, delivering a service on line to consumers and aiming to mobilise customers as a supportive and powerful community. She is founder of Club Soda, which helps people to change their drinking, through apps that track progress and nudge people in the right direction.

To register, email

For more events like this the BSc (Hons) Social Enterprise Leadership award may be for you. Information on the course can be found at

To apply for this course fill in a UCAS application form using the course code S356.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Keeping up with Social Enterprise News

It is important to stay abreast of the latest news in social enterprise if you want to become a good leader. A useful site is at

Our students use sites such as this to keep informed. It helps them to achieve more in their workplace and at university. 

In addition they find out about the latest theories; to find out about yourself and how you perform in groups and teams why not look at some of the latest journal articles on the topic. For instance: Moreland RL, Levine J and Wingert M. (2013) Creating the ideal group: Composition effects at work. Understanding group behavior 2: 11-35

For more information on how you can learn more about group and team working as part of  our BSc (Hons) Social Enterprise Leadership programme go  to

To apply for this course fill in a UCAS application form using the course code S356.

The importance of Social Enterprise to Communities

The BSc (Hons) Social Enterprise Leadership shows how relevant it is to aspire leadership in the third or voluntary sector as we note that some community shops are outselling big business:

Social Saturday highlighted the importance of social enterprise across communities in the UK:

If you have an interest in developing social enterprise you might benefit from taking our BSc (Hons) Social Enterprise Leadership programme. 

Our next cohort starts in September 2015 and places are limited. This picture shows our current students tackling a group task in which they had to communicate well and  work together to achieve a specific outcome

To apply for this course fill in a UCAS application form using the course code S356.

1st September 2014: the first ever Induction Event for BSc (Hons) Social Enterprise Leadership

Arriving at Brathay Hall the students, the first accepted onto BSc (Hons) Social Enterprise Leadership at the University of Cumbria, faced a week long programme of activity that would see all their senses tested to the full. 

From Brathay Hall, after collecting ‘all weather’ kit, they travelled to Coniston where they shared accommodation in hostel accommodation, came to terms with three meals a day [which whilst substantive may not have been their normal fare] and work long into the evening  to come to terms with this very unusual  programme. 

Unusual because their second day found them climbing to the top of ‘The Old man of Coniston’ an ascent of over 2,000ft. The challenge was immense and some students commented that they ‘did not think they would do it’.  The view was spectacular!  

On Wednesday evening the students had a really great evening around the camp fire they had set up by the lake. Thursday morning saw some of them having an early morning dip whilst staff days ran till 22.45 hrs as, following all students having an individual one to one tutorial, they assessed ways to support individual student needs. 

One of the most interesting sessions saw the whole group try to work together to build up a puzzle in 2 mins. They had been split into three teams to develop their sections and then were brought together to achieve the task. It taught us all that we are only as good as the sum of each part & that the difficulties we experienced were those organisations face every day. 

For more information on this course see

To apply for this course fill in a UCAS application form using the course code S356.

9th August 2014: the first ever selection event for BSc (Hons) Social Enterprise Leadership.

This weekend saw the first selection event ever for the  BSc (Hons) Social Enterprise Leadership. Participants took part in group tasks, taking a turn at being a leader. One task saw participants out on Lake Windermere in ‘whalers’ working as groups within an overall team to find answers to treasure hunt style clues.

All participants felt very uncomfortable at times as they battled personal challenges and to get to know their fellow group members. It was important that they put any sense of competition for a place on the course aside as they worked together to achieve set outcomes. The aim was for them to show us how they worked in groups and teams together with their current approach to leadership. 

For more information on this course go to

To apply for this course please fill in a UCAS application form using the course code: S356.