Social Enterprise Identifier (SEI)

Social Enterprise Identifier (SEI)

Welcome to the Social Enterprise Identifier (SEI) project.  Here you can find out about the background, purpose and future plans to promote social enterprise to different audiences including the general public.  A key aim of this project will be to articulate the values of social enterprise and to develop some clear and succinct messages that encapsulate these values.

The SEI project has come from an initial piece of work conducted by the Central Office of Information (COI) to identify those people in the population who are most likely to move into social enterprise – as entrepreneurs, managers or advisers.  This initial piece of work – ‘Is social enterprise at the crossroads?’ – was carried out in September 2008.

Since then COI have been looking at what is needed to effectively market social enterprise to the public and other key groups such as commissioners of public services.  They have now produced two reports.  The first is an initial background paper and the second is their recommendations for going forward with the SEI project. 

The Coalition has had a convening role for the project and brought together several people from the social enterprise movement to discuss the COI’s findings and recommendations.  This SEI steering group met on Friday May 8 and produced the following brief –

A meeting of key figures in the social enterprise movement agreed on May 8 2009 to go forward with a project to raise awareness and understanding of social enterprise.

The group comprised social enterprise practitioners and Ambassadors, Co-operatives UK, the Development Trusts Association (DTA), Social Firms UK, RISE, London Community Recycling Network (LCRN), the Community Interest Company Regulator and the Social Enterprise Coalition. The COI and the Office of the Third Sector attended as observers.
The group convened to discuss the initial research outcomes and proposals from marketing experts at the Central Office of Information (COI). 

The group agreed with the COI’s conclusion that to successfully market social enterprise to a wide range of audiences, there needs to be both a public campaigning device and something that clearly marks out social enterprises as businesses.  It is important that these ‘identifiers’ have a strong visual continuity and consistent messages with clear social enterprise principles and values integral to them. It was recognised that the project should build on what already exists in the movement, especially the work of RISE on the social enterprise ‘mark’.

The SEI Steering Group met again in June and Sencot received this update:

5th July’09

Very good to see the report in Friday’s bulletin about the interest in Scotland for a social enterprise identifier, and that your people have been in discussions with Lucy at RISE and also that you hope to bring the Scottish government on board later this month.

I thought I should let you know where things have got to here so that if possible we can co-ordinate all our efforts across the different nations.

We are trying to bring two things together: a) the need for a much bigger widespread awareness campaign about social enterprise (as identified in the COI research last year) and b) the roll out of a social enterprise mark based on the RISE model.

The OTS are funding COI to do further work on this under the direction of our steering group. What we have concluded is that we need a brand family that links a campaign device that a large number of people and agencies can sign up to, to a business identifier (based on the RISE mark) which organisations which are social enterprises can use. Furthermore we think there might be a case for an additional business identifier for organisations which are on a social enterprise journey but which don’t yet fully qualify for the RISE mark, as a way of attracting more into our movement. Crucially all these would need to be informed by a standard set of values/principles.

A creative agency has been commissioned and our steering group will be meeting again on July 21 to consider design/brand approaches (which will be market tested during the summer), and also outline suggestions for establishing a delivery company (involving RISE and SEC) which will be responsible for promoting and managing the business identifiers and campaign device.

The steering group will reconvene on 10 September to make decisions, with the intention of a public launch on Social Enterprise Day in November.