The Editor’s Post: Social Ark's narrative arc is an SE100 inspiration


SE100 2024 is open, a Social Ark film premiere and a call for collaboration from the Euclid Network’s Impact Summit. This week’s view from the Pioneers Post newsroom.

You’re 19 years old and live in one of the poorest areas of your city. Most of your teenage years you’ve been marked out as baddun. You misbehaved at school. You stole to put cash in your pocket. Much of the time you were in trouble with the police. Most of the mates you grew up with are now either on drugs or in prison.

Then something really big happens that forces you to think about the path you are on. You become a dad. Suddenly you are presented with a fork in the road. Which way do you go? Do you follow your friends? Or do you break away and go in a new direction?

This was the dilemma shared by Will, one of the young people speaking at a social enterprise film premier I was privileged to attend this week in East London. The documentary charted the truly joyful journey that a bunch of young people from some of the most under-resourced communities in East London, Birmingham, Preston and Sheffield took together last year to explore each other’s cultures and backgrounds - and to support each other’s talent, skills, resilience and aspirations - as they aimed to create a better future for themselves and those around them.

50 young people took part in the programme, run by a consortium of social enterprises across the four areas. Some 95% reported improved confidence in their own potential. Many found employment or re-started further education. Several are now getting support to build their own social businesses.

For Will, it has become a defining point in his life – his decision to take that fork in the road. Now he’s setting up a social business that will support other young people who’ve been through similar experiences, and he’s setting an example that his own kids will surely be proud of. As we saw his story and the experiences of many others in the film, the shared sense of pride, mutual support, energy, fun and triumph over adversity was a wonderful thing to watch.


UK social enterprise ‘top 100’ 2024 edition opens for nominations

At the heart of the consortium delivering the programme was a social enterprise called Social Ark, which for the past two years running has been named as Equality Champion in Pioneer Post’s NatWest SE100 Social Business Awards.

Today we are excited to open nominations for the 2024 edition of the SE100 Awards – which are all about unearthing, celebrating and learning from organisations like Social Ark.

There are stories like Will’s in thousands of social enterprises across the UK. We want to know about them. So please tell us about your stories, and the change you are making in your communities, by entering this year’s awards.

Calls for collaboration from the Netherlands

Turning our attention to the international social impact space, our reporter Estelle Uba has been in The Hague this week at the Euclid Network’s Impact Summit, where the message was all about collaboration – between social entrepreneurs, governments and the private sector. Read her dispatch, featuring insights from Gerry Higgins of the Social Enterprise World Forum, Daniel Nowack of the Global Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship, Asa Skogström Feldt, managing director of Ikea Social Entrepreneurship, and others.


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Header photo: Social Ark