NatWest SE100 Social Business Club “keeps you going”

The NatWest SE100 Social Business Club landed in Manchester last week, for the latest instalment of the NatWest SE100 Insight event series.

A slew of social entrepreneurs gathered at RBS headquarters in the city to discuss topics as varied as finding reliable revenue streams and building a brilliant board.

Speakers included Rachel Holliday, founder of Time to Change, a social enterprise tackling homelessness that was partly inspired by Holliday’s own experiences and Rose Marley of Sharp Futures that supports young people into employment

Graeme Oram from Five Lamps was also one of the speakers. Five Lamps offer a range of social services including getting people back into work, providing youth clubs and access to finance. The organisation picked up the resilience award at last year’s SE100 awards – it has been in operation since 1998.

Oram proved a big hit at the conference, drawing some laughs when he said that, “getting investment is like a bizarre tango.” Oram let Pioneers Post know that he enjoys mentoring as part of his job and that fed into meeting other social entrepreneurs, who he always wants to help if he can.

Feedback from attendees on the day stressed how invaluable it was to be able to talk through challenges with like-minded people able to offer advice who have experienced similar issues themselves.

One such attendee was Alison Edmonds of Epic Steps CIC, a social enterprise that raises awareness of social responsibility and leadership. She thought the advice offered at the SE100 Insight event was particularly crucial for those who are at an early stage with their social enterprise.

“You’re never going to know it all and the wonderful thing about this network is meeting someone who can fill in those gaps and they can just inspire you to keep going. 

“When everything is going really well it’s brilliant, you can share all that. But when you come across a stumbling point, you need some help and you need input at the right moment then this type of event is just perfect. It just keeps you going,” she said.

Perhaps unexpectedly, the quote that most people took away from the day was not from a social entrepreneur but a social network big cheese. “The biggest risk is not taking any risk... in a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks” was delivered by David Curtis, board Trustee and Board Director for the Access Foundation but actually came from the mouth of Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg.