Social enterprise is becoming an increasingly popular sector across the South West and on a national scale, and the Real Ideas Organisation (RIO), a South-West based social enterprise with a global reach, recognises the growing sector and has launched their own social enterprise hub in Liskeard.
No 26, RIO’s Liskeard base, was officially launched as the Liskeard social enterprise hub on Monday 17th November. The launch event saw local businesses and social enterprise representatives attend for a celebration and plenty of networking opportunities. The social enterprise hub will be a place where emerging and established social enterprises can come for expert advice and support.
Liskeard Town Mayor, Phil Seeva, officially opened the Liskeard Social Enterprise Hub. He said, “I was very pleased to officially open the new RIO site and welcome the team to Liskeard. The organisation does some truly commendable work with younger people and as a result they are an important addition to the rich and varied make up of Liskeard.”
Abby Benson, a young person enrolled onto one of RIO’s accredited learning programmes, also spoke about how RIO has supported her through her period of unemployment. Abby gained essential employability skills and a qualification in events management, and has now entered full time employment with Cornwall Council, and aims to pursue a career helping low income families.
Speaking at the launch event, Abby said, “RIO shaped me as a person and really gave me a chance to learn more about myself and what it was that I wanted to do with my life. They gave me the skills and confidence to achieve my job role. The best thing I have found about RIO is that each and every member of staff does everything in their power to help you. They do not give up and always go above and beyond to help every person they meet.”
Lindsey Hall, CEO of RIO, said, “Social enterprise is a sector that is very important to us, and we’re very proud to work in this sector supporting young people and other businesses to find their feet. The launch of our Liskeard social enterprise hub is a fantastic step for us in helping shape social enterprise for Liskeard and further afield, whether it’s through supporting young people on our various learning and employment programmes, or through our Engine Room project.”
RIO’s Engine Room programme, developed in partnership with Cornwall School for Social Entrepreneurs, Cornwall College and Cornwall Neighbourhoods for Change, runs regular meetings at the Liskeard hub where start-up and growing Cornish-based social enterprises can attend and receive guidance from expert consultants around business skills including marketing and finance, and can come together for excellent networking opportunities with other businesses.
The social enterprise hub also provides employability support through its accredited learning programmes, as well as acting as the central venue for the national Talent Match employment programme for Cornwall and the RBS Inspiring Youth Enterprise programme. Social enterprise is an increasingly well recognised sector in Cornwall, and in 2013, Cornwall was named the first ever Rural Social Enterprise Zone. The launch event was part of the wider Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), an annual week-long festival of events celebrating enterprise. GEW 2014 took place over 17th-24th November.