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The challenges for social enterprise

Neil StottNeil Stott, Chief Executive of the Keystone Development Trust, talks about the challenges of retaining social and financial returns on investment in wealth creation projects within the community. The Trust was named by the Cabinet Office (March 2014) as one of a number of partners awarded a grant of £900k to support social ventures in the East of England and aims to create a new generation of social ventures and entrepreneurs.

There are approximately 70,000 social enterprises in the UK contributing £18.5 billion to the UK economy (based upon 2012 Small Business Survey, 2013) and employing almost a million people. So, it seems to be a strong sector but what are the driving forces for this growth? Neil talks about the opportunities and challenges facing social ventures and would-be social entrepreneurs.

Appointed as Senior Teaching Faculty in Social Innovation at Cambridge Judge Business School (2014), Neil is also a mentor to students on the Cambridge Judge Business School Postgraduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship programme. The most difficult question for the students to answer has been “who are my customers?” and “what is the problem we’re trying to solve with the business?”. Social entrepreneurs need to understand that they’re still operating a business – no matter how great the cause or their passion for the project.