HRH The Prince of Wales To Celebrate The Power Of Social Enterprises

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HRH the Prince of Wales will celebrate the powerful role of social enterprises to create jobs, stimulate local economies and change lives in London at the charity Business in the Community’s annual AGM and Leadership Network at the Troxy, East London today.

The event coincides with the announcement that a programme launched by the charity in the run up to the London 2012 Olympic Games to match London-based social entrepreneurs with senior business experts has helped 2,500 people in the city into work – with over 1,000 of these within the Olympic host boroughs. A further 500 jobs have been created throughout the South East region.

Social enterprises are businesses which exist to tackle social problems. There are 70,000 social enterprises in the UK, employing 1 million people and contributing £24bn to the economy. Business in the Community set up its social enterprise programme arc to create a lasting legacy in the Olympic host boroughs. The programme, gives social entrepreneurs free access to bespoke, practical support from business, such as improving business strategy, marketing and branding support or practical advice on winning contracts and new business.

In addition arc social enterprises also have access to subsidised training and impact consultancy, discounted premises and supply chain introductions. It has been backed by some of the biggest names in business – BP, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Exterion Media, Deloitte, Visa Europe, InterContinental Hotels Group – who between them have contributed over 758 days of advice to London social enterprises, through over 232 of their business volunteers.

Today’s report highlights that targeted business support can have a significant impact on social enterprise growth and job creation. 83% of the social enterprises involved in the programme reported turnover growth in the last year, compared to UK average social enterprise growth of 52%. The social enterprises have between them created 2,917 jobs across London and the South East, the equivalent of £89.8m Gross Value Added to the economy. In addition, by removing people from unemployment it is estimated that they have saved the state £11.2m through reduced unemployment claims. As a result of this impact Business in the Community will be launching arc Yorkshire alongside new Corporate Partners Asda and Interserve, with the aim of creating a further 1,000 jobs in the region.

Today, HRH The Prince of Wales will meet some of the 117 London entrepreneurs whose businesses have been supported, including:

– K10 an apprenticeship training agency for the construction industry. BP’s support on its business development and sales strategy has helped K10 place over 500 apprentices into work.

– From Babies with Love supports the care of orphaned and abandoned babies through its online shop which sells organic baby clothes, with 100% of its profit donated to partner charity SOS Children. The enterprise was supported by Visa Europe to understand how their strong social brand could provide a competitive advantage to prospective partners whilst achieving faster growth. The work led to a tie-in, with a From Babies with Love Teddy Bear launched in Boots stores.

– Bounce Back trains, mentors and employs ex-offenders as painters and decorators. Volunteers from Visa Europe have helped Bounce Back to define its mission, develop a new business structure, put expansion plans in place and develop improved data management. It has employed 21 people.

– Papi’s Pickles a family run South Indian and Sri Lankan food business, employing women from these communities. Through support from BP, Papi’s Pickles has implemented a new business plan and robust financial forecasts. It is now trading online and is about to launch a pop-up outlet.

The Prince will be presented with a special plaque created by Southbank Mosaics to commemorate the jobs created in East London. The Waterloo based social enterprise improves London’s public spaces through beautiful mosaic artwork while also providing training in artisan skills for the long term unemployed. In the three years it’s been on the BITC programme, with support from Exterion Media, it has been transformed from a grant receiving organisation, to a self sustaining business model, while also creating new jobs.

Peter Mather, Group Regional Vice President, Europe and Head of Country, UK, BP, is one of the senior leaders whose business has driven the Business in the Community programme. He will join the stage presentation of the plaque to the Prince.

Commenting he said: “BP is proud to be a founding partner for this programme which is enriching and strengthening the local communities where we operate. Since the programme began, over 160 BP employees have volunteered with 92 social enterprises – sharing their business expertise and helping these social enterprises overcome barriers to their growth. In return our business volunteers have developed their management skills and increased their business acumen. In 2011 the goal of creating 1,000 jobs in East London through the arc programme seemed an ambitious task, but today I am pleased to celebrate this incredible success.”

Jane Pritchard, Enterprise & Culture Director, Business in the Community said: “The impact of our social enterprise programme in London provides a glimpse of the power of collaboration between big business and social enterprises, to create lasting change and vital employment in areas of need. These relationships are a win-win as social enterprises, business and society all benefit from working together. We now look forward to taking what we have learnt in London to Yorkshire as we expand the programme.”

Business in the Community’s annual AGM and Leadership Network convenes 500 senior business leaders from across the UK to explore the practical ways that business leaders can respond to the world’s most pressing challenges, while achieving sustainable growth and commercial benefit. The event will showcase the powerful impact of business and social enterprise, and is delivered in partnership with Fujitsu, Business in the Community’s Responsible Business of the Year 2015.