Plymouth Social Enterprise Week is in its third year running, and this week has seen over a thousand people take part in the various events, doubling figures on last year. The Global Entrepreneurship Week takes place across the UK, and aims to highlight the importance of social enterprise as a growing sector, and ensure it becomes a part of everyday life.
As a leading social enterprise in the South West, RIO is a strong supporter of the week-long festival, and has been actively involved in many of the eighteen events that took place. Other sponsors include Plymouth City Council, Plymouth Community Homes, Francis Clark accountants and Santander.
It’s been a week of social enterprise lunches, launch parties, debates, trade fairs, awards and more. You can view the full programme here.
The festival, which ran from 16th November to 23rd November, brought together regional and national industry leaders, policy makers, funders, key decision makers and the best of Plymouth’s social enterprises.
The theme of this festival was public engagement, and with Social Enterprise UK naming Plymouth one of the UK’s first social enterprise cities earlier this year, it promised to be bigger than ever before. It certainly delivered!
Read below for a breakdown of what took place during the week.
The festival officially began on Saturday 16th November, with an Introduction to Social Enterprise workshop held over the Saturday and Sunday. The festival launched on Monday 18th November at Devonport Guildhall, which saw strong attendance from various social enterprises.
Many workshops took place on the 18th, including a workshop on procurement and funding and finances for social enterprises, both held at Devonport Guildhall. On the 19th was a Plymouth Social Enterprise Network and Plymouth Chamber breakfast event, and a lunch with The Apprentice star Melody Hossaini. RIO also led a Crowdfunding event for schools and teachers. To finish off the evening, a social enterprise themed pub quiz took place at the Bread and Roses social enterprise pub in the heart of Plymouth (RIO Directors Matt Little and Lindsey Hall won, naturally!).
There was a Social Enterprise and Culture event also led by RIO on Wednesday 20th at Plymouth Library, and a networking lunch gave social enterprise leaders a chance to come together. Unltd also held an event at Devonport Guildhall to showcase what they do.
Thursday 21st November was the day of the all-important Trade Fair at Plymouth University, where many social enterprises exhibited, including RIO, who also took the opportunity to sell fresh bread from their artisan bakery, Iridescent Ideas, Aster Group, the RSA and many more. There were workshops in the afternoon which focused on the Social Enterprise Qualification, an accredited qualification developed by RIO and SFEDI that recognises social enterprise learning, workshops from the RSA and more.
A social enterprise debate and awards evening finished the night, and drew the festival to its near close. Social Enterprise Qualification students from Bideford College, Plymouth College of Art and Tor Bridge High all won social enterprise awards on the evening, and Plym SU, a unique 6th form collaboration and Our Way, Plymstock School’s trading company, both RIO-led projects, were also recognised for their outstanding achievements.
It’s been a busy week, but in no way not worth all of the effort! Saturday 23rd November will bring the festival to its complete close, and what better way to celebrate such an event than with a closing party? Devonport Guildhall and Zebra Collective’s Column Acoustic live music night is taking place in the evening, which will also mark the end of the week-long festival.
All in all, a job very well done!