All Shook Up: Finding the post-Covid road to recovery for social enterprises and social investors
How are the UK's top social entrepreneurs planning to move forward from the Covid-19 pandemic – and how can social investors support them?
In a joint Good Finance and Pioneers Post webinar last month, we talked to three social entrepreneurs and a social investor about how they adjusted to survive the crisis and what new directions they are planning to take in the coming months.
Our panellists were NatWest SE100 finalists Paula Gamester of The Sewing Rooms, Fuad Mahamed of Ashley Community Housing (ACH) and Dave Lane of Chelmund’s Chippy along with Mike Strong from Livv Investment. Our chair was Pioneers Post’s global editor, Julie Pybus.
You can watch the full webinar above.
"Standing still is not an option"
When asked about the future of Chelmund's Chippy, founder David Lane responded with optimism. Established with a mission to provide for the community, Chelmund's Chippy has eventually extended its business hours even though its customer pool decreased significantly for a time due to the pandemic. Moving forward, Lane is aiming to assist other communities with creating their own social enterprises in order to push their own economies forward.
"What comes first, the social impact or the business?"
The Sewing Rooms founder Paula Gamester said the business was key. "If you can't trade, if you haven't got an income to do social good then you can't do anything," she said. Generating profit to "put back into the communities" had always been the top priority.
"Business comes first, then everything else will follow"
"Involve your customers"
Going forward, it's important to remember to consult the people with lived experience – your social enterprise's customers or beneficiaries in how social investments are designed, urged ACH CEO Fuad Mahamed.
"It's critical that the customer is given a voice in how we should be supporting them," he said. "Without that, it would be money wasted."
"Collaboration is key"
From a social investor's point of view, Livv Investment's Mike Strong pushed for communication between investors, investees, policymakers and others in order to evaluate the long-term impacts of the pandemic. From both a social and economic perspective, verifying the needs of the communities each social enterprise plans to serve is critical for development.
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