The Challenge

North Devon Permaculture are a community interest company that run a permaculture demonstration project, focusing on growing food, forestry skills and agroforestry.  They run courses and workshops and hold talks on edible garden design.

12 hours of bespoke

business support

What is Enhance?

Social Enterprises (or those aspiring to become one) can benefit from the HotSW Enhance Social Enterprise service.

The programme involves a minimum of 12 hours of tailored business support, including topics such as:

  • Business Development
  • Business Growth
  • Social Enterprise Leadership Development
  • Digital Marketing
  • Financial Sustainability and Diversification
  • Legal Structure and Governance
  • Measuring Social Impact

Enhance Social Enterprise 

Wenderlynn and Iain Bagnall first became aware of RIO and the Enhance Programme through a Devon Convergence. “The links of Heart of the South West came from that as well. We were looking for support and seeing how to go about becoming a social enterprise.”

The Enhance Programme provides 12 hours of bespoke business support to other social enterprises within Devon, Somerset and Torbay, looking at business planning, financial modelling, marketing, governance, and many other aspects of running a successful Social Enterprise.

Wenderlynn and Iain worked alongside RIO for a couple of years, who were able to provide them with support in how to model their business, sales forecasts and what the best legal structure was in relation to them becoming a social enterprise. “We knew we wanted to be a community interest company, but we didn’t really understand the legal jargon.” They said they found a lot of it to be quite confusing, but RIO were able to break down the information for them and provide them with indispensible knowledge.

North Devon Permaculture had one to one meetings with RIO and although they had to be the ones to make the decisions about their business, RIO provided them with “incremental pieces of information”, that helped them form the best plan they could for building a community interest company.

“We were given loads of support, and were able to pick out the pieces of information that really suited us at the time.”

“They were really friendly and did everything they could to meet our needs in the best way.”

RIO also went out to visit the site, providing more knowledge and information to what had previously been given to Wenderlynn and Iain.

North Devon Permaculture made the most out of the Enhance Programme by seeing how another social enterprise worked, and transferring some of those ideas into their own business. They were able to utilise RIO’s knowledge on legal structures and other aspects and are now a successful community interest company.

How The Project Was Received

“Doing what we’re doing is quite isolating, so having another organisation there with you who are really willing to support you and answer questions is great. We have really valued the support that RIO has given to us. It’s helped us move forward.”

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