News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

Conference aims to break down borders for region’s social enterprises

A conference which aims to help social enterprises tap into new markets across the globe is set to be held at Wrexham Glyndwr University.

The free conference will be looking at how social enterprises can access the growing opportunities both in the UK and internationally. Social enterprises can operate as commercial enterprises – but they focus on trying to bring positive change to the world,  by improving social, environmental or economic well-being, with profits being re-invested in the company or distributed for the benefit of the community.

Key players including Glyndwr academic Dr Sarah Evans, an expert in the field of social enterprises, will be speaking at the conference.

Dr Evans has travelled across Europe as part of InTSEnSE – Internationalising Trading for Social Enterprise Sustainability and Education – a major project looking into how organisations can grow and develop the work they do across borders – both in Europe and beyond.

She said: “I don’t think that anyone – particularly in Europe – has done such a huge project as this. We have had 54 social enterprises across the continent involved and have linked up with them all to see how we can break down those international barriers social enterprises face.

“There are lots of opportunities through which people can grow their business internationally – it doesn’t have to be as complicated and difficult as people think. The information produced by the project will also help social enterprises to think about growth nearer to home.”

That approach has been put at the heart of the conference, where attendees will also hear directly from social enterprises about how they have developed – as well as from the Welsh Government about the work they are doing to boost the sector and from a leading social enterprise consultant who will also work with participants in a dedicated workshop.

Dr Evans added: “During the event, we have got a lot of different sessions including the session with Mark Richardson from the Social Enterprise Academy Wales – he is looking at some of the support that people can access if they want to grow their businesses and measure their organisational impact. Mark has recently attended the World Social Enterprise Forum in Ethiopia and his session is not to be missed!

“There’s also a longer-term plan behind the conference  – we want to see a Wrexham Social Enterprise Network developing, building on some of the excellent work which people are doing and helping people across the region work together.

“We’ve seen how social enterprises can develop across borders, and at this event we want to bring together key players – such as the organisations themselves, Glyndwr as the academic lead as our region’s university, and bodies like local councils and voluntary councils – to see how we can help social enterprise develop further in our region too.

“There is just such a lot of interesting stuff going on – it’s about drawing all the strands together, helping people link up and helping them look for new opportunities – and as university I think we have a key role to play in facilitating that discussion.

“The way the United Kingdom interacts with the rest of the world is changing and, particularly for social enterprises, there will be opportunities to grow and develop as that change occurs – both within Europe and beyond. 
“There are lots of markets beyond Europe which can be tapped into – for instance, one of our speakers, Jo Clay from Empower Be The Change, has worked in the past with social enterprises in India, while others are looking at emerging opportunities in Africa. There are many opportunities out there for social enterprise to expand the work they do, and we are here to help.”

The event has been organised with Wrexham Glyndwr University’s Enhancing Entrepreneurship team.

Business Development Manager Laura Gough added: “We have a wealth of talent among North Wales’ social enterprises – it makes sense to bring everyone in the sector together to take things to the next level.

“We want to take the work that Sarah and other experts have been doing out into our communities, enhance the great work our social enterprises are doing, and help them help even more people.”

To book your place at the free conference, to be held at the Catrin Finch Centre at Wrexham Glyndwr University on Friday, November 15, visit:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/social-enterprise-expanding-beyond-borders-tickets-72214382161

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