MAYOR of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has supported a new vision for social enterprise in the region at The Greater Manchester Social Enterprise Summit this week.
The new vision for social enterprise, developed by the Greater Manchester Social Enterprise Network (GMSEN), in consultation with partners in the public, private and voluntary sectors, aims to continue this tradition by enabling the right conditions for social enterprises to succeed.
Reflecting on Brexit during his speech, the Mayor of Greater Manchester said:
“It is important that we stick together in uncertain times. We know where we’re going, let us get on with it.
“There is a massive opportunity for social enterprise in Greater Manchester. We are the historic home of social enterprise, and we need to make it right for the 21st century. The best organisations want to be based in places with a purpose, so that’s something we need to be communicating to the next generation.
“We don’t talk about social enterprise enough, but it is of the moment – business being run the right way and giving back to the community. Part of Greater Manchester’s industrial strategy has to be a people strategy, that has a productive economy where the workforce is well looked after.”
Launched at St. Peter’s House in Manchester, the aim of The Greater Manchester social enterprise vision is to create a new wave of ethical and socially responsible business across Greater Manchester, that will result in a more inclusive, diverse and vibrant economy across the region. It marks the start of a process of engagement and discussion around the actions needed to deliver the vision, such as addressing limited access to financial and business support and a lack of awareness and visibility of social enterprise.
“I am confident that the best days of Greater Manchester lie ahead of us”, the Mayor of Greater Manchester added. “In the next ten years, a lot of positive change is going to happen. That will be by people taking positive inspiration from what is happening around them rather than direction from Westminster.
“Our past can inspire us but sometimes it can hold us back a little. I would bet that for most people, deep within our DNA, we would expect to be employees and not employers. It’s not in-built in our psyche.
“We have to break that cultural problem we’ve got. I’d like to see a scheme where we put start-up units in schools right across Greater Manchester and plant the idea that it might be something they could do. Helping young people find their way through a challenging world is a massive part of our work.”
The Summit was attended by over 150 organisations and 200 people and explored the critical role of social enterprise in creating a thriving, inclusive economy in all parts of Greater Manchester, with panel discussions and workshops on topics such as digital innovation and social value.
The event also showcased some of the region’s great diversity of social enterprises, businesses that are addressing social needs, strengthening communities, enhancing culture or helping to protect the environment.
In attendance at the event were social enterprises, co-operatives and mutuals that trade for social or environmental benefit; businesses and organisations interested in buying from them or supporting them, and people who are considering starting a business as a social enterprise or mutual – from across the whole of Greater Manchester.