Gwynedd will play host to a social enterprise summit on Thursday 16 July. The event will celebrate Gwynedd becoming the first County in Wales to be awarded ‘social enterprise place’ status – a programme which recognises hotspots of social enterprise activity. This event will help raise the profile of this growing sector and these vital businesses. There will be high profile speakers, networking and a BBC Question time style event looking at how the county can build on its success as a leader in social enterprise activity. Social businesses and their partners, are delivering entrepreneurial solutions to civic challenges – whether it’s meaningful employment for young people, generating clean energy, community scale healthcare or affordable housing. This emergent ‘sector’ is showing the fastest rate of growth in the region.
Gwynedd is now seen as a national leader in this sector and A ‘Question Time’ Style Panel Debate will bring together key stakeholders to discuss what a ‘social enterprise county’ is and how can it benefit Gwynedd? This is a great opportunity to champion the work these businesses do and ensure that Gwynedd continues to spearhead growth in this exciting sector. The small everyday purchases can make a big difference. Whether you are at home or work, there are thousands of social enterprises providing high quality, ethically sourced products and services, from furniture and fashion to cinemas and cafes, bicycles and banks – even beer! Watch the Social Enterprise Places animation . The Social Enterprise Place programme is supported by Santander UK. Visit www.socialenterprise.org.uk/social-enterprise-places for more information.
Gwynedd is the first Country in Wales to win social enterprise status – awarded by the national campaign Body, Social Enterprise UK. Gwynedd is spearheading growth in the social enterprise sector and an upcoming summit will bring together the sector to celebrate the award.
The sector has seen strong growth in recent years. Social Enterprises attract a higher proportion of women leaders compared to other sectors and are at the forefront of the green economy. A social enterprise is a business that trades for a social or environmental purpose and there are more than 70,000 in the UK. Well known examples include The Big Issue and Jamie Oliver’s fifteen restaurant chain. Gwynedd based social enterprises and supporters include, Antur Stiniog, Age Cymru Gwynedd a Mon Wales Co-operative Centre and Partneriaeth Ogwen.
Social enterprises are starting up all over Britain. Nearly a third of all social enterprises are three years old or younger, with three times the proportion of start-ups than the SME sector. In villages, towns and cities up and down the country there are increasing numbers of shops, cafes, cinemas and nurseries that are run for the benefit of local communities. As a ‘Social Enterprise Place’ Gwynedd is committed to growing social enterprise communities across the county by bringing together the council, businesses, charities, budding social entrepreneurs and local people.
Leader of Gwynedd Council, Cllr Dyfed Edwards, said: “We are delighted to be awarded social enterprise place status, which recognises the number of businesses in Gwynedd that reinvest their profits in making a difference by tackling social issues such as improving communities and the environment. It also recognises the council’s determination to grow our social enterprise community.”
Peter Holbrook, CEO of the campaigning body Social Enterprise UK, said: “As a Social Enterprise Place, Gwynedd is re-injecting life into local communities across the county, creating opportunities, local wealth and changing lives for the better. Gwynedd social enterprises are dynamic and showing strong growth – we need to continue to support the sector by buying from social enterprises across Gwynedd.”
Stuart Emonson, Regional Manager, North Wales & The Wirral, said: “Santander is proud to support the Social Enterprise Places programme as part of our commitment to supporting small businesses in Gwynedd. Social enterprises are an exciting part of Gwynedd’s SME sector and play a vital role in local communities, helping to deliver social regeneration.”