A SOCIABLE ENTERPRISE: RUN-NATIVE…The Social Enterprises Market Place.
Run Native, a Scots based social enterprise, is a market place for other social enterprises. Supported by Community Enterprise, Run Native is going from strength to strength and is is clear that it, like many other social enterprises, has a role to play in the social and economic landscape of contemporary Britain, helping people help themselves, supporting disadvantaged groups and energising the communities we live in. This, like other social enterprises is a welcome indicator of dynamism and inspiration. Call them social enterprises if you will, or call them beautiful businesses, they come in many shapes, size with a variety of aims and objectives. Social enterprises may be on the rise today, but they tap into a rich historical tradition.
Social Enterprise: Past, Present, Here and Now.
The contours of the business community in the UK are in a state of flux. New businesses come and go, but the emergence of the social enterprise phenomenon seems so fresh, so inspiring and hopefully here to stay. Social enterprises are creating a buzz right now, but the pioneers of social enterprise can be traced as far back as the 1840s, in Rochdale, where a workers’ co-operative was set up to provide high-quality affordable food in response to factory conditions that were considered to be exploitative. Today, the most high profile social enterprises are household names -The Big Issue, the Eden Project, Jamie Oliver’s restaurant Fifteen Foundation, Divine Chocolate, the fair trade chocolate company, Women like Us and Cafe Direct the UK’s largest Fair-trade hot drinks company. Many social enterprises are not lucky enough to be as high profile and work on regardless of recognition filling small gaps in our social and economic fabric. The best government data in a patchy statistical landscape (the Annual Survey of Small Businesses UK 2010) estimates that there are approximately 68,000 social enterprises in the UK contributing at least $24bn to the economy. Social enterprises are estimated to employ 800,000 people. The true picture is probably much bigger than this data suggests. Social Enterprise UK’s report Fightback Britain– the State of Social Enterprise Survey 2011 revealed some significant data which, upon reflection suggest an increasing need for social enterprises – 39% of social enterprises are concentrated in the most deprived communities (13% standard SMEs), 58% of social enterprises reported growth last year (28% SMEs), 57% of social enterprises predicted growth next year (41% SMEs).
Most UK social enterprises operate in the health and social care sector (around 33%). This is mostly related to daycare, childcare, welfare and guidance, as well as accommodation services. Social enterprises also commonly derive their main income from ‘community or social services’ (21%) and property (20%). A much smaller percentage of social enterprises trade in the educational sector (15%) or wholesale and retail (3%). However, a big growth area for trading social enterprises has been the rising popularity of FairTrade products – the biggest example of which is coffee company, Cafe Direct. There are now more than 3,400 FairTrade retail and catering products available and the industry as a whole grew by 81% between 2006 and 2007. UK sales now equate to an annual half a billion pounds.
Social enterprises are businesses that are changing the world. When they profit, society profits. A social enterprise is a business that trades for a social and/or environmental purpose. It will have a clear sense of its ‘social mission’: which means it will know what difference it is trying to make, who it aims to help, and how it plans to do it. It will bring in most or all of its income through selling goods or services. And it will also have clear rules about what it does with its profits, reinvesting these to further the ‘social mission’. Social enterprises are businesses that trade to tackle social problems, improve communities, people’s life chances, or the environment. They make their money from selling goods and services in the open market, but they reinvest their profits back into the business or the local community. And so when they profit, society profits. Social enterprises do not make profits for shareholders (because they don’t have any) or exist to make their owners very wealthy. Social enterprises are in our communities and on our high streets – from coffee shops and cinemas, to pubs and leisure centres, banks and bus companies.
Small part of the Run Native collection
WE’RE HERE TO SHOW THE WORLD WHAT FANTASTIC PRODUCTS SOCIAL ENTERPRISES ACROSS THE UK ARE PRODUCING. (Run Native)
Run Native is an online marketplace created by social enterprise for social enterprise. We have scoured the UK to find the best that social enterprises have to offer. You will find an eclectic mix of products here from high fashion and home ware to stationary and chocolate. Run Native was started by the passionate people at Community Enterprise. For 25 years Community Enterprise has worked with community projects all over Scotland to help them grow into confident, creative, financially-viable organisations. On their travels during this time the team have been inspired by the interesting, high-quality products made and sold by these organisations – from luxury soap handmade by people with disabilities in Inverness to tartan dog coats designed by homeless people in Edinburgh. However, for the average shopper on the street, these products can be hard to find. The team thought,
‘what if we could create a place to buy social products in one place…things that delight friends and family, but also directly help vulnerable and disadvantaged people?’
That’s when Run Native was born. A collective online marketplace that helps customers find ethical buys, and ethical producers find customers.
Run Native is for discerning shoppers who want to buy the cool and the covetable knowing that every sale has a powerful impact on people’s lives. Run Native provide an online store front for many small social enterprises making jewellery, home accessories, clothing, gifts, garden products and children’s clothes to name but a small slice on offer. Beautiful Businesses all; take Chocolate Memories for instance, an emerging social firm, established in 2010 by charity group Autism Initiatives.
Based in County Down, Northern Ireland, the business offers exciting training opportunities to people with Autism Spectrum Condition. Chocolate Memories unique team of chocolatiers passionately blend the finest quality chocolate with delicious flavour combinations, creating an unforgettable taste experience. Trading in the in the open market, all profits are reinvested back into the business to fulfil the social aims and objectives. All profits raised through Chocolate Memories are reinvested into realising the aims of Autism Initiatives, and providing further opportunities to our service users.
It is clear that Run Native is a wonderful initiative providing windows of opportunity to others social enterprises. Run Native is a beautiful social enterprise helping bring beautiful businesses and customers together and find a way to market.