Are Social Enterprises more sustainable, innovative and profitable?

‘Does doing good make you better?’

There are 471,000 social enterprises in the UK, making up for almost 9% of the total UK small business population. Government research has recently revealed that businesses which put their profits into social or environmental causes appear more likely to be innovative and profitable than traditional SMEs.The research also compared the types of challenges cited by SMEs and Social Enterprise Employers.

Take a look at some of the highlights from the study which was commissioned by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy on Enterprise Nation’s blog.

Maybe you have an idea for a Social Enterprise? Book on to an IntroLab to tell us about it!

Electric cars will be soon charging while driving!

Wired-up roads are the future, mostly due to Tesla Motors, who triggered the interest in electric cars that this generation feels.

Nikola Tesla, a genius will be not only please but also excited as his enthusiasm towards electrical vehicles has triggerred the interest of many. The wireless transmission of power is the future and is now turning into a reality. From a electric cars mat when you were a child to wiring the most popular roads in Britain, electric cars are certainly on the uprise.

These electric cars are in more demand than ever due to their low local emissions, but they are also known for their expensive prices and not having a long enough driving range. So imagine if you could charge them without a plug in cable, or even while moving.

Technology is advancing at a faster rate than ever with electric tooth brushes and smart phones being charged by being placed on top of a pad. Thanks to this technology, some electric cars are able to be charged by parking on top of charging pads, so that advancement of wire-up roads are closer than ever before! Recent studies show these roads with wireless charging coils are not expensive as you think and that the biggest part of the cost is the construction work itself.

Read our official report here.

The Best Places to be a Social Entrepreneur

The Thomas Reuters Foundation teamed with Deutsche Bank, UnLtd and the Global Entrepreneurship Network have conducted the world’s first experts’ poll to identify which countries worldwide provide the best environment for social entrepreneurs.

Countries were assessed on a range of factors including the level of government support, ability to attract skilled staff, level of public understanding and access to investment.

The study looked at 45 of the world’s largest economies and the top ten countries identified span four continents with the USA topping the list and UK coming in third.

The study also worked to highlight countries in which female social entrepreneurs were performing best; differing from the overall top ten, the Philippines, Russia and Norway topped the ranking.

To explore this really interesting dataset further and read a bit more about the methodology visit their website here.

 

Biotechnology YES 2016

Calling all UK Bioscience Early Career Researchers… 

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Want to develop your enterprise skills and business acumen with the chance of winning £2,500? Applications for Biotechnology YES 2016 are open now!

What is YES?

YES is an innovative competition which involves working in a team to create a business plan for a hypothetical bioscience start-up company looking for investment. The plan must be plausible and based on real markets.

The opportunity takes place over the course of a three day residential workshop which includes presentations and mentoring sessions from leading figures within the industry.

The experience culminates in the oral presentation of a business plan to a panel of ‘equity investors,’ including individuals from industry and academia with decades of experience. Two teams from each workshop will be selected to take part in the final in London.

What will I gain from taking part?

  • Development of enterprise skills
  • Cultivation of business acumen
  • Opportunity to think creatively to produce innovative solutions to major problems
  • Chance to win £2,500

(These are just a few of the benefits, for a full list Click here!)

YES, sounds great, how do I sign up and what is the full process?

  1. Form a team of four to five members and apply online by Friday 27th May
  2. Participate in the online briefing session on Wednesday 3rd August
  3. As a team decide upon an innovative idea which could work as a business and decide which areas of the business each team member will be responsible for.
  4. Attend a three day residential workshop. Workshops are help throughout September, October and November with dates to be confirmed.
  5. Two teams from each workshop will be selected to go forward to the Finals in London on the 5th of December.

Click Here to visit the website for more information, register for an application form and to view last year’s winners.

If you are interested in applying please contact the Enterprise Team

SURVEY: Are you part of a family business?

How do you engage with your family business?

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Take this short survey by researchers at Lancaster University Management School and the University of Bradford School of Management.

Are you part of a family business?  Why do you, or don’t you, get involved in the family business? So often surveys are aimed at the CEO or current business leader.  We want to know how YOU, the next generation of leaders, engage with the family business (or not!). Have your say!

Researchers at Lancaster University Management School and the University of Bradford School of Management are working on a joint project sponsored by the Institute for Family Business (IFB) Research Foundation. We are seeking the views of next generation family members, whether working in the business or not, to understand how future generations are involved in the development of family businesses.  Recommendations for family businesses will be presented at the IFB conference in June and you’ll get a copy of the results  if you share your email at the end of the survey.

If your parents or grandparents have a family business, whether you are thinking of joining it or developing your skills in a different direction, have your say by completing the following anonymous survey here.

Two important days

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why” Mark Twain

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Follow your passions and live your dreams. It’s a motivational line always used to encourage us to fulfil our potential and follow our ambitions. But what if we don’t know what our passions are? And what if the road to living our dreams isn’t as easy as we think?

Recent research with entrepreneurs shows a positive link between effort and passion; the more effort put into a new venture, the greater the passion. This may be attributed to positive feedback and a sense of ownership, and the pride which ensues from working hard and reaping the rewards.

However – for the budding entrepreneur, exploring ideas and finding a passion is not so black and white. The required effort may seem pointless and the bigger picture is unclear, if not unknown. Why is passion inevitably linked with effort and what happens when we don’t appear to be getting any closer to “living the dream”?

Read more.

Bros funding bros: What’s wrong with venture capital

“An industry with the power to change lives is failing to do just that”

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Venture capitalists are the pioneers of our industries and support new, innovative and creative ideas. Or not, as some commentators might suggest.

Chamath Palihapitiya writes that the venture capital industry is driven by likeminded and conformist VCs whose decisions halter the rate of change in society and business. Whilst he says we are in midst of a “technological renaissance”, this tendency to turn away from entrepreneurs with innovative ideas outside of the mould has stagnated societal and technological advances. The risk and level of investment required to support new ideas is seemingly unpopular in the venture capitalist world and therefore they are more likely to support ‘safe’ businesses not far from the norm.

What do you think – do you agree?

Read more here.

Mapping digital tech clusters in Tech Nation 2016

Nesta and Tech City UK to map UK’s tech businesses & their needs

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Nesta, Tech City UK and Growth Intelligence will create an unprecedented data map of the UK’s digital technology businesses, with the aim of identifying their needs and encouraging policy makers and educators to use big data mapping to support innovation.

By using machine learning algorithms, they will look at website content to identify the UK’s tech companies and capture the velocity with which they are evolving and their importance within the UK economy. Their research will focus upon the capabilities, resources and networks within these tech ecosystems – it is hoped by mapping these, a clearer picture will emerge and a deeper understanding of the tech business industry will follow.

If you’re part of a digital business, you can take part in the annual Tech Nation survey. Read more about the mapping project, and the survey here.

State of Social Enterprise Report 2015

UK social enterprises are thriving, new report reveals

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The State of Social Enterprise Report 2015, supported by Santander, is the result of extensive research into the state of the sector.

Social enterprises in the UK are outperforming mainstream SMEs, and are thriving in this time of significant social and environmental issues. In fact, in terms of turnover, job creation, innovation and optimism, UK social enterprises are at the forefront of the economic recovery.

Social Enterprise UK’s statistics show that 50% of social enterprises report a profit, whilst 26% break even. In terms of job creation, 41% of social enterprises introduced new roles in the past 12 months compared with only 22% of SMEs. Furthermore, 59% of social enterprises employ at least one person who is disadvantaged in the labour market and around 40% have a director with a disability.

The report concludes with the view that social enterprises are changing in nature and are part of the most dynamic, fast moving areas of business in the UK – there’s really never been a better time to get involved in social enterprise and make a positive impact.

Read the report here.

If you want to make a difference and learn more about social enterprise whilst you’re at University, why not work with U Social Venture? A group set up by students with a desire to create change and do good.

The rise of fintech

Fintech is reshaping the money transfer industry

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The internet and the growth of mobile technology has transformed the way we manage our money and mobile banking apps, contactless payment, Apple pay and even Facebook payments have revolutionised our spending habits.

Approximate figures show that the number of people with access to their bank account via a mobile device grew by 700 million between 2011 and 2014. Financial tech (fintech) therefore, is more prominent and more lucrative than ever – so much so that some experts predict that it will replace cash payments in future years.

There’s really never been a better time to launch your fintech startup or think seriously about your financial solutions ideas; last year, investments in fintech startups quadrupled to $12 billion and crowdfunding is expected to bypass venture capital investments by 2016.

Read more here.