They say all good things must come to an end, and the same is true of this year’s group of Social Enterprise Spotlight entrepreneurs. I have had the privilege to work with this group of social entrepreneurs over the last 12 months or so, looking at their successes, challenges and what is next in store for them. You can see a list of those involved here. We had the wrap-up event a few weeks ago – and what an event it was! It had all the ingredients that constitute a Spotlight event: stories, expertise and tales from those in Spotlight but with a small tinge of sadness (for me anyway). No longer will I be privy to the insightful conversations of this inspiring group. However fear not, we will be back. But more on that later.
Here’s a quick re-cap on what we have covered since we began our journey in summer 2012:
- Social media event in July 2012 – Spotlighter Eugenie Teasley with help from Trudy Thompson from Bricks and Bread (and a Spotlighter from the first year) and Rina Atienza from Synacapse covered social media and why you should definitely use it. Read some useful tips on how to use Twitter from Trudy Thompson.
- Growth part 1: an internal perspective in Sept 2012 – we were joined by Dai Powell of the HCT group who spoke about the need to be aware of your market and that money is a good thing! You can see Dai's presentation and outcomes from the event online. We then broke into groups looking at sales, operations, your business model and putting the right people in place around you. We held this event with BiTC's ARC project and Ravensbourne; where we also learnt about business incubators and Ravensbourne's work over the last few years.
- Growth part 2: an external perspective in Jan 2013 – from an 11th story building over-looking the O2 arena and led by Richard Raynes at SportInspired, we focused on what you need to do to achieve growth; from sales to funding to establishing your culture. Chris Mould from the Trussell Trust reflected on his journey with the explosion of their foodbanks around the UK and highlighted that you must live your values. Read more about what happened.
- Impact (from a human perspective) in Apr 2013 – for the first time the network went outside to London to Oxford to join the good folk at OxfordJam. We ran a session looking at impact with two fab Fellows Steve Coles (@steve_coles) and one of our amazing Spotlighters Becky John (@beckypants). Read more in this previous blog.
- A celebration of the last year and how best to tell your story in June 2013 – finally we come to our most recent event where we heard about the stories over the last year with a focus on story-telling. Karen Lynch, the CEO of Belu Water spoke about the need to make your brand and social enterprise different and better. Check out the tweets fom the night. We then heard from all the Spotlighters and what their personal journey's has been like - all inspiring, all carved from graft and hard work and above all passion.
You can see the thoughts and feedback of the people who came to the last event in this word cloud:
As you can see a lot has been covered this year and we don't think it should stop here. We made a video capturing the network, with snapshots from the last event and our recent monthly breakfast. It shows what we have done, why it is so powerful to get an inspiring group of people in the same room and gives you the tools and the inspiration to set something up where you are:
RSA Social Entrepreneurs Network from RSA Fellowship on Vimeo.
Many thanks to everyone who got involved in the making of this video, especially those who shared their thoughts and tales and to those who contributed to making the year a success.
And what's happening next? Well the network will continue and the next breakfast will be on Friday 27th September, 9am with a focus on crowdfunding. Keep an eye out for part two of this blog where you can find out more about our future plans.
Fellowship Communications Manager
Read part two of this blog
Visit the Social Entrepreneurs Network online
Watch the video again on our Vimeo channel