I was thinking hard about what I could say at the Rise Annual Conference this week when I had an email from my Special Angel. Yes, really, apparently I have one that emails me every so often. Angels are obviously keeping up with the times, although I am not sure whether she is on FB, twitter or for that matter Linked In! but she is definitely not dancing on the head of a pin.
Anyway, whoever she is, she hoped that I would be inspired by her. Her main issue to paraphrase was the corporatisation of the world and the frustration of those that want to stand for something different – something better, more colourful , imaginative and inspirational. That hits the nail on the head for me.
Social enterprises are not part of the establishment, they are trying to make a difference to people’s lives or the environment in which they live. What keeps me going, are those stories and the levelling effect that social enterprises have on those that they encounter on the way. They are reconnecting with those people that feel marginalised, and helping them to take control of their lives for themselves.
This year has been a challenging one for Rise and the Social Enterprise Mark and we have certainly done our share of fighting our corner. But let’s take the opportunity to celebrate our progress. We have started as we mean to go on, with taking brave and bold decisions. We now have more 450 certified social enterprises (Mark holders) throughout the UK. Each of these organisations is doing its bit, but we now need to use this collective power to challenge the corporate sector. We have something to say that challenges the silo mentality of the conventional model. We need to ensure that these businesses work with us on our terms – it should not just be greenwash. We offer them answers and we should put a value on this – at the least they should be buying from us, ideally in the long term they will be converting to the social enterprise model.