Charity backs social enterprises as pandemic sees sector grow

Devon charity official

Hannah Reynolds - Credit: Submitted

Social Enterprise Day on November 11 marked  a day to celebrate the impact and achievements of social enterprises in the UK and around the world.

Now a Devon charity is supporting this growing sector in the region by providing free business coaching to start-ups and small businesses, including social enterprises. 

Devon Communities Together is an independent charity that supports people and communities throughout the county. It is currently providing free business coaching to start-ups as part of its New Start Devon programme, which is receiving funding from the European Regional Development Fund.

“There’s so much social enterprise going on in Devon”, said Hannah Reynolds, manager of Devon Communities Together’s New Start Devon Enterprise Coaching programme.

 “Our scheme has seen a 50 per cent rise over the last four months in people developing social enterprises – trading businesses with a social or environment benefit.  It seems that over the lockdown, people have been rethinking both their own careers and how they could work to benefit the community too.”

New Start Devon Enterprise Coaching provides 12 hours of free 1:1 and group coaching to help people develop their business idea or grow their business. Contact Hannah on 07985 488177 if you would like to find out more.

Nationally, there are 100,000 social enterprises in the country contributing £60 billion to the economy and employing around two million people.  They operate in every sector of the economy from coffee carts creating jobs for people who are experiencing homelessness and employee-owned cleaning communities to community owned renewable energy projects and social care providers. Regionally, there are over 2,150 social enterprises in Devon alone.

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Social enterprises have been at the heart of community responses to the COVID pandemic. Many pivoted their business models to keep on supporting their communities - setting up vital food delivery services, re-adapting services to cope with the demands of distancing and being on the frontline of supporting people with COVID.