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As you may have seen in the first part of this blog, over the last year the Social Entrepreneurs Network has been going from strength to strength, connecting people and solving some of the challenges from the Social Enterprise Spotlight folk.  You can witness this activity in our new video:

RSA Social Entrepreneurs Network from RSA Fellowship on Vimeo.

What’s happening next

The Social Entrepreneurs Network is evolving; we will continue to run events but they will be every six months alternating between events inside and outside of London. The next event will be in London in the autumn. The breakfasts will continue to be held the last Friday of each month at the RSA - we want to get some of our RSA Fellowship partners more involved as they have a wealth of expertise to tap into and work with lots of inspiring people.  We hope to arrange some interesting opportunities over the coming year.  The next breakfast will be on Friday 27th September at 9am and will focus on crowdfunding, as the RSA will be launching a new 'curated' crowdfunding area in September (more on this below).

The most important aspect of the network though definitely won't change; the peer-to-peer learning and the interaction between those involved.  As Maria Ana Neves, one of the Spotlighters said, the network provides "the most magical resource - people, ideas, experiences".

As Maria Ana Neves, one of the Spotlighters said, the Social Entrepreneurs Network provides "the most magical resource - people, ideas, experiences".

Social Enterprise Spotlight and our crowdfunding work

As for the fate of Spotlight, you may have read a recent RSA Fellowship blog from Fellowship Councillor Ed Whiting about our upcoming RSA area on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter.  This will launch in September and will be a big and exciting piece of work, giving Fellows a chance to appeal for financial and ‘in-kind’ support from Fellows and the wider world to make their vision even bigger and better. We'll have eight to ten projects in each round of funding.  These projects will make up the next round of 'spotlighted' projects and ventures.  We'll be focusing on their successes and challenges as they continue their journey during and post crowdfunding. Keep an eye out for the September issues of the Fellowship newsletter where you'll be able to hear more about how the crowdfunding platform is going to work and how you can get involved.

Taking the Social Entrepreneurs Network to your area

We would like to see a Social Entrepreneurs Network in every region of the RSA and in every country of the world - particularly the 40 where we have RSA Connectors.  Getting a group of people in the same room who not only want to change the world, but are acting on their wishes, is a very powerful thing.  Taking a break from the daily grind of running an organisation to reflect on your work, its impact and how you could do it better can be invaluable.  Having limited time can be an issue, but getting inspiration and support from others is definitely worth it.

We have been running regular breakfasts for a couple of years now which are an effective way to meet other social entrepreneurs and don’t take up too much of your time.  If you want to get something similar started in your area it is relatively easy - and it doesn't need to be a breakfast, it is whatever works for you.

I would say you need four things though:

  • A place to hold it in (such coffee shops who are often more then happy to have extra customers; partners spaces; hub spaces etc)
  • Willing and interested social entrepreneurs (you can use the online group to find support)
  • Someone willing to decide on the place, time and focus
  • A focus or theme (if you are a social entrepreneur what are you struggling with? This is your opportunity to get advice from others and see what they are doing or how they dealt with it.)

Alternatively you can ask other support organisations to get involved.  A good example of this is that Manchester Fellows' have a thriving partnership with UnLtd in the north west. Or Caroline Veal FRSA along with other Fellows has instigated some excellent activity around those working in social enterprise in Sheffield. She has long had contact with the support organisations in the area and has used them to great effect!

Use the online group for the Social Entrepreneurs Network to find other social entrepreneurs who might be interested in kicking something off, start discussions, seek advice and get involved. There are also tools you can use like the four ways to engage, and the Changemakers handbook (PDF, 210KB).  If you are a Fellow working in social enterprise and would like to kick something off where you live, you can also talk to your local team in your region.  You can find out who they are by visiting your region via the Where you are web page.  The local team are there to help you engage with the RSA and its activities, so get in touch and we hope to see you soon!

Sarah Tucker

Fellowship Communications Manager

@SarahTucker10

Read part one of this blog

Visit the Social Entrepreneurs Network online

Watch the video again on our Vimeo channel

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