Highlights from the Digbeth Cheapside and Highgate Social Enterprise Network Meeting

It was a great to see some new faces among the familiar ones at this morning’s Digbeth, Cheapside and Highgate Social Enterprise Network Meeting!  Thank you to all those who attended and updated us on their work.

It was interesting to hear about the Birmingham Pound, SIFA’s Out of the Woodwork social enterprise, ART’s finance, Spot On Marketing’s marketing services, BITA Pathways gardening services, BRAP’s training opportunities, Citizen Coaches new retail unit and the University of Birmingham’s offer of an extra pair of hands.  We were delighted to welcome student Mary Elliston to the group.  She will be helping Spot On to raise the profile of Digbeth Social Enterprise Quarter, its members and activities.

Would you like to join us?

The key purposes of the Network in the Quarter are to:

  • develop and encourage inter-trading
  • support start ups
  • support the growth of existing businesses
  • enable peer to peer support
  • share information and opportunities

Membership and events are free – we need your time and creative energy to help make Digbeth Social Enterprise Quarter a vibrant and productive place.  The more we all put in, the more we will all get out!

Here are the highlights of today’s discussions:

Birmingham City Drive 2016 – 18th to 22nd April

Last year’s, first ever, City Drive was a huge success and we are excited to be running another one this year.  Are you able to contribute by running an event that week?  Do you have any ideas for collective activities that you would like to discuss?  If so, please contact Marija@i-se.co.uk

Finance for Social Enterprises

If you are looking for investment or other finance opportunities this link is useful: http://www.bigsocietycapital.com/open-funds

Andy King from ART Business Loans explained that ART offers loans of £10,000 to £150,000 to social enterprises, which can be a useful as a source of unrestricted funding or to support cashflow whilst waiting for grants and funding from commissioned projects to come through.  Loans can be repaid over a number of years, but there is no penalty for early repayment.  For more information see www.artbusinessloans.co.uk

Need an Extra Pair of Hands? 

We discussed the offer from Creative Alliance of creative apprenticeships.  iSE is in the process of taking one on and we are aware of other DSEQ members who have had successful ones too.  If you are interested, here is their website link: http://creativealliance.org.uk/employ-home/

The University of Birmingham advised us of opportunities for social enterprises to benefit from working with one of its students between October and March.  The students are looking for professional placements and you can benefit from an extra pair of hands to help with research or projects including marketing and publicity, events, fundraising, improving systems and processes, impact reports, education project support and development.  For more information contact Natasha Kerven, Placements Officer at n.k.l.kerven@bham.ac.uk or 0121 415 9028.

Energy Management

Phil Beardmore updated us on energy management advice, which he said is available for already-owned buildings or potential investment into buildings.  He also offers energy brokerage services, which can provide your organisation with budget certainty re fuel bills.  If you would like to find out more, Phil’s contact details are: 07791 839025 or email philip.beardmore@gmail.com