Networks1st Update: Friday 19th March 2010

ReadyforBusiness is seeing a significant increase in the number and scale of contract opportunities available to social enterprises. This has gathered pace lately with the partner organisations (Senscot, Social Firms Scotland and CEiS) being directly approached by national private sector companies looking to deliver on the Community Benefit Clauses that are now being built into their tendering process. We are convinced that the current trend will see these opportunities increase even further.150 social enterprises are currently on the register. If you’re keen to have the chance to access these opportunities, register now at

Dundee SEN member, Coffee Exchange funds a range of projects in Uganda. Last week, they launched their latest initiative, Capstone Microfinance, providing affordable, accessible finance for local women to start and develop their own businesses.  The project has been sponsored by local business Covert Security, a relationship developed through the Community of Business Events with the Chamber of Commerce in Dundee. The model is based on Muhammad Yunus’ Grameen Bank model, see  So far 36 loans have been approved in Uganda with a waiting list of over 100 – an excellent start. See or contact

We have had around 13 responses to our recent Scottish Prison Services survey. Over the last few weeks we’ve heard from one or two others other there that there are other social enterprises that would like to deliver services to prisons but haven’t made the connection as yet. We are still keen to hear from any other social enterprises that already have experience of working with prisons, but we’d also like to here from those keen to get involvede. We’d be grateful if you could take the time to fill in the attached survey – .


EVENTS:  ‘Fit for Purpose 2010’ on 23rd April at Perth Concert Hall. Mary Allison, Director of Programmes & Policy at NHS Health Scotland and Dr Lynne Friedli, Mental Health expert on Social Prescribing, are our keynote speakers at this year’s Social Enterprise and Health conference. See

Cathy Jamieson, MSP will deliver the keynote speech at ‘Developing for Growth’, the first Coalfields Social Enterprise Network conference next Friday 26th March at Blantyre Miners Welfare. For info on how to book a place at the conference visit

CONTRACTS:  Ready for Business – Contract opportunities are growing significantly through this new initiative. Opportunities being highlighted on to those registered for Ready for Business this week include interior design services for childrens homes in East Ayrshire, Childcare Partnership training required in the Scottish Borders and road transport services including taxi services, school bus and coach services.

Case Study: East Lothian

East Lothian SEN met for the first time in February 2006 in Haddington. With the help of funding from Communities Scotland (sic), ‘Social Enterprise in East Lothian’ developed a website and directory of social enterprises in the area. In March 2008, they ran their first conference which was opened and chaired by the Leader of East Lothian Council.  Download Case Study here:

Dates for the Diary

Health SEN, 22nd March
Edinburgh SEN, 23rd March
Clacks SEN, 24th March
Fife SEN, 24th March
Coalfields SEN Conference, 26th March
Sport SEN, 29th March
Dundee SEN, 31st March
S2S, 21st April
Health SEN Conference, 23rd April