We hope you enjoy our first guest post….

The Social Enterprise Society hosted last week’s Student Restaurant and it’s safe to say that it was a big success. It’s great to see that after launching only a year ago the Bristol chapter of FoodCycle has become so popular, with 3 hearty courses provided for around 100 students on the night.

So what is a Social Enterprise?

Well, FoodCycle is a perfect example. Think of it as a crossover between a business and a charity, where money is made but a social purpose comes before profits.

If you were to stand on Woodland Road and ask 100 passing students to donate £3 to a very worthy cause, I’d bet you £3 that you’d get less than 20 opening their wallets. However, if you offered the same 100 students a 3 course meal for their £3 I’m pretty sure that I’d lose the same bet.

This is the beauty of Social Enterprise, where the consumer gets something in return for doing a good thing and the organisation or company doesn’t need to rely on charitable donations to address a social cause. This attitude to business is adopted by many companies such as Divine Chocolate, Frank Water and even Innocent Smoothies who donate 10% of all their profits to charitable causes.

On the night we showed an inspirational talk from the founder of the Eden Project, Tim Smit. If you haven’t already seen it then it’s well worth checking out here:

 The talk focuses on how a widespread change in attitude is required and that corporate social responsibility is one thing, but if we really want to reach developmental targets such as the Millennium Goals then we require the full support of not only charities and NGO’s but also large commercial businesses.

Tim highlights that when you read The Harvard MBA in 10 Days, it does not tell you anything about attitude and it is attitude and values that should distinguish a social enterprise. He also talks about the ethos of the Eden Project and how after an initial investment of £130 million it has put over £800 back into the Cornish Economy.

The Social Enterprise Society was established less than two years ago and runs speaker events, an enterprise in schools programme, a work experience scheme and many other exciting entrepreneurial events. Our AGM is approaching soon and if you’re interesting in being part of the committee next year then get in touch with james@bristolsocialenterprise.co.uk

The Social Enterprise Society


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