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Social economy holds key to recovery for West Midlands

todayNovember 25, 2021

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The Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, and a wide range of partners, welcomed plans to invest in the region’s social economy, putting human and environmental wellbeing at the heart of its activity at a recent roundtable.

 

These plans were developed in response to recommendations made by the Social Economy Taskforce, which asked West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to develop a plan for doubling the size of this sector in ten years.

 

This combination of a diverse enterprises and organisations with shared common values – referred to collectively as the ‘social economy’ – use their profits to achieve positive community and environmental impact.

 

Recognising that these organisations offer some of the best routes to the region’s recovery from Covid, the WMCA has worked with the sector to develop a four-point plan to build the social economy back stronger than before, enabling it to drive growth for the benefit of all.

 

Launching now ensures that the actions pledged to the Social Economy Taskforce are relevant to the needs and challenges of today.

 

Sarah Crawley, who as chief executive of the Initiative for Social Entrepreneurs at the time, led the consortium developing the strategy, commented: “This strategy is unique in that it has been written by a consortium of the social economy sector in the West Midlands with the aim of stimulating the growth of the social economy sector, bringing together best practice and learning, to create a framework for action.”

 

Through this collaborative approach, additional external funding and goodwill support is anticipated which will support the key aims of the strategy:

  • Working with new and existing funders to support growth in social enterprises and community businesses.
  • Business support and advice through an accelerator programme to encourage rapid growth of social enterprises, from start-up companies through to more established organisations.
  • Establishing social economy clusters across the region – clustering of sector-specific businesses has been proven to help build economic growth and resilience.
  • Directing WMCA investment plans towards supporting schemes that can help increase growth among social economy businesses.

 

Commenting on the roundtable, the Mayor added: “The Covid pandemic has tested us all, and this sector is no exception. Yet we know these companies and organisations are part of our recovery, and work closely with our communities. Which is why I’m so pleased with all the hard work and goodwill that has been put into preparing this strategy – and the roundtable today has illustrated the breadth of the buy-in that we have to make these growth plans become a reality.”

 

 

Written by: David Watkins

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