London mayor Boris Johnson has declared himself a fan of social enterprises. In September, he contributed £285,000 to 20 community-centric projects across the UK capital from part of a larger £9m fund.
“The eclectic range of projects I have seen over the course of the High Street Fund is a remarkable testament to the creativity and enterprise of Londoners,” he said.
Ventures included new green spaces, affordable food, health support, renovations and education.
With these types of campaigns and more being generated, social enterprise foundation UnLtd has revealed 94 per cent of social entrepreneurs believe they should be taken more seriously and 63 per cent feel as though barriers prevent the potential to do good.
Additionally, 87 per cent said the sector needs better understanding from the public. Other challenges saw 71 per cent claim they need more sustainable revenue streams – a combination of access to finance from investors and the means to make a living from projects.
“We are seeing a surge in the number of people stepping up with entrepreneurial solutions to social problems. But the reality is it’s still very difficult for social entrepreneurs to maximise their social impact,” said Katharine Danton, UnLtd director of strategy.
“Social entrepreneurs need customers, staff, buyers, lawyers, parents, indeed people from every corner of society to back them – they need to go mainstream. Our new strategy is focused on working with others to use all of our insights into what works, so that together we can break down the barriers faced by social entrepreneurs.
“We believe that by Going Mainstream, many more social entrepreneurs will be able to reach their potential to create serious social impact.”
Previous research from UnLtd found that some 27 per cent of the UK’s entrepreneurs feel inspired to develop a business because they have social and community-based ideas in mind.
By Zen Terrelonge
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