Posted: 10.01.21 at 10:02 by Philippa Davies
A free online course is being offered to people in Devon who would like to start a social enterprise – a business that makes money, but also benefits their community.
The course is part of Devon County Council’s response to the Covid crisis and is open to people who are unemployed or at risk of losing their jobs.
The council said thousands of people in the area have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic, and many others are facing dramatically reduced hours, long periods on furlough, and an uncertain future.
At the same time, the Covid crisis has highlighted the number of people who want to step up and make a difference to their local area, building stronger, kinder and more resilient communities.
Social enterprises are businesses designed to change the world for the better, and Devon already has one of the UK’s largest populations of them. Like traditional businesses, they aim to make a profit, but at least half of that money is reinvested in initiatives to bring about social change.
They often offer employment to people marginalised from the mainstream workforce, and most are run ethically, paying the living wage or more, and operating in environment-friendly ways. Coffee shops, bus companies, pubs and cinemas can all be run as social enterprises.
Devon’s Social Entrepreneurs’ Start Up Programme aims to equip people with the skills, confidence and support they need to establish a business of this kind.
Starting on Monday, February 1, there will be 10 weekly sessions, spread over eight weeks, run by the School for Social Entrepreneurs in Dartington. Participants will learn from experts and existing entrepreneurs, who will give them practical advice and guidance. There will also be a chance to win a cash award to help with business start-up costs.
The start-up programme is open exclusively to people living in the Devon County Council area – not Plymouth or Torbay. Applications need to be submitted by Monday, January 18.
Director of SSE Dartington Dirk Rohwedder said: “It is great to have this opportunity to work with Devon County Council on such an important project. Covid-19 has had devastating effects on communities around the UK and we are pleased to be able to support and empower people to rebuild the economy, and their community, in a way that is better for them.”
Councillor Rufus Gilbert, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills, said: “We’re committed to supporting a strong recovery for Devon’s economy and this initiative is an integral part of that.
"This Start Up Programme for Social Entrepreneurs is aimed at those who are looking for help to turn an idea for a new business into a reality. It offers practical guidance which looks to challenge and support people in getting a social enterprise off the ground.”
For more information, and to download an application form, visit Devon Social Entrepreneurs Start Up Programme 2021