Outcomes and Impact of SSE activity

Outcomes and Impact of SSE activity

July 2007

In 2006, the School for Social Entrepreneurs commissioned the New Economics Foundation to do an independent longitudinal evaluation of its work since its inception in 1998. This involved storyboard and impact mapping workshops with stakeholders (staff, trustees, students, fellows, etc.), and then an in-depth questionnaire sent to all SSE Fellows (those social entrepreneurs who have completed an SSE programme; as of Spring 2007, there are over 300 Fellows).

You can download the full report http://www.sse.org.uk/_uploads/File/SSE%20Report%20041206.pdf

or the new executive summary http://www.sse.org.uk/_uploads/File/SCHSOENT_19244.pdf(pdfs).

Here are some of the headlines from the NEF report:

Sustainability: 85% of all organisations established whilst at the SSE are still in existence; for example, SSE Fellows’ organisations are over one-and-a-half times more likely to be in existence after eight years than conventional business
for every 10 Fellows, 30 jobs and 69 volunteering positions are created
over 60% reported an increase in turnover after completing the SSE programme: on average, a five-fold increase in turnover; over half of those giving financial details reported that 50% or more of their income came from ‘trading’ activity
88% of individuals on the programme experience a growth in confidence and skills to lead their organisation; 60% agreed that their confidence continued to rise after leaving the SSE programme
over 50% of Fellows have made 10 or more useful contacts that they attribute directly to SSE
90% agreed that the programme was well-suited to their needs

Ed Miliband MP writes in his foreword to the executive summary:

‘Supporting a new generation of social entrepreneurs, with the opportunities they
need, is a vital task for the years ahead. I wish the School for Social Entrepreneurs every success, and congratulate them on undergoing such a thorough and public evaluation’.

In addition, the overall NEF report includes the following conclusions:

“For some, the SSE acts as a [place for] fine-tuning, giving them the ability to move forward with their project in a variety of ways and to create a greater impact than they would have otherwise. For others, the SSE is nothing less than the difference between existence and non-existence of their organisation and profound change within their own lives’

“The SSE opens doors and increases the capacity of organisations to effect change, giving students better positioning to funders, local authorities and other key decision-makers”

“SSE’s uniqueness lies in the depth and duration of support, the high levels of personal support and the inspirational mix of people and lasting support networks”

“SSE’s uniqueness lies in the depth and duration of support, the high levels of personal support and the inspirational mix of people and lasting support networks”

“The SSE programme is designed and delivered in a way that is sensitive to the diverse needs and attitudes of the students who are striving to achieve positive change for communities”

There are “large benefits to the SSE’s stakeholders from the investment of £6,000 in each student” [in terms of financial/social returns]

“The SSE also actively generates personal and organisational support through the community and network of social entrepreneurs that emerges from working in action learning sets and by coming into contact with other Fellows”

“SSE Fellows can see that they are inspiring others in their immediate community. This is done by demonstrating confidence and success in their community and by recognising and encouraging other people with the necessary potential in their community to develop their own capabilities”

The SSE entrepreneur community can be “define[d]… as a community of practice characterised by trust and understanding and a rich vein of experience”