Networks1st Update: 1st February 2008

In Dunoon at the start of this week for Argyll and Bute Social Enterprise Network’s Conference. Highlights of the event inclued a talk by Jim Mather the Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism (also the local MSP) who showed a real understanding and appreciation of the value of networks. Then there was the Dragon’s Den (Dragon’s included Naomi Johnson of First Port and Neil McLean of the Social Enterprise Academy). Winners included Cowal Music Group, Mull and Iona Community Butchers and Atlantis Leisure. Another significant outcome was the pledge from Dick Walsh, Leader of Argyll and Bute Council, to become an Ambassador for social enterprise. Let’s hope he sets off a new trend!! Perhaps the next Council Leader to fly the social enterprise flag will be in Edinburgh where Claire Carpenter (The Melting Pot) has, after a ptich to the City Chamber, won the right to be granted 80% rates relief for FIVE YEARS by Edinburgh City Council…backdated. Not bad as she was up against 1965 legislation on relief for charities and sports clubs – which they’re not… Added to this, the Council agreed to review over the next 6 months how they can support social enterprise in the City including via non-domestic rates relief! Spotlight on Networks: LSENs are an example of a Community of Practice, a group of like-minded individuals with common interests and goals who recognise that by working together they can dramatically reduce costs and increase revenues. Research and articles published in Harvard Business Review and other leading journals suggest that by creating focused, purposeful connections across geographies, time zones, business functions, or cultures, it becomes possible to tap into and maximise the collective knowledge of a group. Communities of practice represent collections of people that share common objectives and whose collaborative relationships support their organisation’s goals. Among the many benefits of supporting and growing these communities are: * Capturing knowledge * Sharing best practices * Solving problems quickly * Driving Innovation * Enabling professional development * Reducing costs Network Case Study – We Entrepreneurs