Social Enterprise Online Toolkit
2 June 2010 at 10:25 am
Business Link in London has developed a comprehensive, online Social Enterprise Toolkit to provide support and guidance to new and established ventures in setting up and running a social enterprise.
The launch of the toolkit coincides with the release of a qualitative poll of over 50 London social enterprises which found that whilst they are feeling optimistic about the future of the sector, many find information and advice is too scattered or not tailored enough for them.
The free toolkit offers over 50 practical guides on topics ranging from finance and funding to legal structures. Its interactive element is the Business Planning Tool which takes users through a step-by-step process to create their own business plan. It also includes a Business Review Tool to identify key strengths and areas of the enterprise that need improvement.
Business Link is a partnership between the UK Government and relevant business-support organisations to help businesses with regulations and improve their performance.
This toolkit has been created with the help of key partners such as Red Ochre, Social Enterprise London, UnLtd, London Rebuilding Society and the School of Social Entrepreneurs.
The London poll shows that the majority of respondents believe research and preparation are crucial when starting out, particularly when it comes to creating a business plan and accessing finance, which are highlighted as significant challenges. Many also find information and advice for the sector is too scattered or not tailored enough.
Tamara Pekelman, Business Adviser at Business Link in London says social enterprise is increasingly playing a bigger role in the wider economy.
However, she says the unique nature of these enterprises often means they have specific issues that require specialist information and support which is particular to the sector.
She says the results of recent poll have reinforced the need for a comprehensive one-stop shop for these types of businesses.
Business Link in London polled 51 social entrepreneurs. Just under two thirds of respondents started their business in the last two years and the most popular sectors are education (18%), community (16%) and environmental (14%). The majority of those questioned were inspired to set up their business for ethical reasons, including a passion to drive social change or help their community, with many also motivated by their own personal experiences.
Most of the respondents says they are proactive in trying to overcome challenges by seeking advice and information from business support groups, other entrepreneurs, friends and family or the Internet. However, a large proportion are still struggling to deal with issues as they have not yet sought any assistance.
Business Link in London's Social Enterprise Toolkit can be found at: www.businesslink.gov.uk/london/setoolkit