Social Firms UK annual conference 2010

This year's conference, 'Harnessing the power of business to change lives' took place in Fitzwilliam College at Cambridge University, 1-2 July 2010 and was co-hosted with Social Firms Europe CEFEC (
The full conference programme is available.

You can view videos of the conference by clicking here.


Click here for information on our 2012 conference
Work & jobs - enterprising solutions


Lippy People Social Firms UK & Social Firms Europe CEFEC Conference Playlist




Thursday 1st July

11.30 am: Arrival and Registration

12.15 pm: Social Firms UK AGM

12.45 pm: Lunch

1.30 pm: Welcome address from Conference Chair, Saeeda Ahmed, Trescom

1.40 pm: Opening address, Jean Lambert, MEP

1.50 pm: Harnessing the Power, Sally Reynolds, CEO, Social Firms UK & Secretary General, Social Firms Europe CEFEC

2.05 pm: How Business can Change Lives: Peter Speckhahn-Hass of di.hako-group (click to download the presentation) ; Tom Henderson of Haven Products; Sue Peters, The Social Investment Business (click to download the presentation)

2.35 pm: Questions

2.45pm: Brief presentations by the short-listed European Social Firm of the Year Award candidates.

3.15 pm: Coffee and exhibition

4 - 5.30 pm: Workshops and Seminar

5.30 pm: Break

6.30 pm: Drinks reception

7.30 pm: Conference Dinner and European Social Firm of the Year Award prize giving ceremony

Friday 2nd July

8 - 9 am: Breakfast for residential delegates

8.45 am: Arrival and registration of day delegates

9.30 am: Welcome from the Chair, Michele Rigby, Social Enterprise East of England (SEEE)

9.35 am: New approaches to sustained sector growth:

10.45 am: Questions

11.00 am: Break

11.30 am: Trends and developing meaningful Corporate Social Responsibility; companies can get more engaged in the growth and development of the Social Firm sector.

  • Andrew Haigh, Managing Partner Entrepreneurs, Coutts & Co
  • Nicky Major, Director Corporate Responsibility, Ernst & Young
  • Peter Grigg, Head of Policy and Research, Enterprise UK
  • Tom Henderson, Sales & Business Development Manager, Haven Products

12.15 pm: Challenges and opportunities for Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) and social enterprises pulling out of economic recession.

1.00 pm: Lunch

2.00 pm: Tendering and procurement – the ins and outs, Ian Charlesworth, The Social Investment Business

2.35pm: Workshops

Workshops and Seminars:

Thursday the 1st of July

Introduction to Social Enterprise and Social Firms
Pan-Europe, Basic
A useful starting point for anyone who’s not really sure what this is all about! From the very basics, delegates will have the opportunity to discuss and question the social enterprise model, its terminology, characteristics and traits. Workshop delegates will also look at how and where Social Firms ‘sit’ within the social enterprise sector and the role they play in the job creation agenda for people otherwise excluded from the labour market.
Simon Hebditch
Kathy Baker (Social Firms UK), Sue Peters (The Social Investment Business)

Making the most of sales & marketing opportunities
Pan-Europe, Intermediate and delegates need to be trading with products and/or services
In this workshop delegates will be given the chance to explore the many opportunities to increase sales and improve marketing in your domestic markets; free business listings, local initiatives, resellers, social enterprise directory, strategic partnerships, SETAS, eBay, social media platforms, media relationships, PR, innovative press releases - the list goes on. This workshop will examine established and emerging routes to market and discuss how to concentrate your efforts into the most efficient sales and marketing channels.
Dan Lehner (UnLtd Ventures) (click to download the presentation)
Sara McGinley (Social Firms UK), Anton Senner (BAG Integrationsfirmen e.V., invited)

Breaking the cycle – achieving large scale job creation for ex-offenders
Pan-Europe, Basic
The Ministry of Justice in the UK is increasingly recognising the importance of engaging with social enterprise as a means of reducing the risk of re-offending. The need for such engagement is one that is also recognised across Europe. This workshop will explore ideas, with input from some existing initiatives including Social Firms, on how significant numbers of jobs might be created for ex-offenders and help reduce the risk of re-offending.
Sharmila Kar (Nacro)
Dave Tomalin (Lippy People), San Leonard (Social Firms Wales)

Financing the start up and growth of your Social Firm or social enterprise business (click to download the presentation)
UK, Intermediate
Whether you need to get start-up funding in place, finance to grow your enterprise or cover a cashflow shortfall, every stage of business (including social enterprise) has different needs when it comes to finance.  Social enterprises rely on trading to survive, yet do not seem to access the types of financial support available  to mainstream businesses. What are the different stages and different needs and what is the situation  regarding demand and supply across the UK when it comes to financing social enterprise?
The Social Investment Business (Niall Sweby) (click to download the presentation), Brian Whittaker (LankellyChase Foundation), Tracy Axten (Triodos), Nigel Kershaw (Big Issue Invest)

Secrets to success in the catering industry – Mosaik Services and Catering2Order
Pan-Europe, All
Mosaik Services, a Social Firm in Berlin, has been very successful in developing restaurants that have created employment for people with mental health support needs; Catering2Order employ people with visual impairments and provides external catering services to businesses in and around London. Two very different types of business but both in the same industry sector – lessons and tips for success will be shared with delegates regarding the true challenges and opportunities that face each Social Firm.
Mark Powell (Broomby CIC)
Frank Jeromin (Mosaik Services) (click to download the presentation) , John Charles (Catering2Order)

Overcoming poverty and social exclusion through Social Firms – sharing personal stories and
experiences from around Europe

Bursary place holders
Alex Cosgrove,The Grow Organisation (click to download the presentation)

Friday the 2nd of July

Tendering and procurement – sharing experiences across Europe
Pan-Europe, Intermediate/practitioner
There is considerable discussion about the processes of tendering and procurement for social enterprise generally, both in the UK and abroad. For example, how difficult, expensive and resource intensive it can be  and how much more could be made of social clauses within the process.
Pauline Graham (Social Firms Scotland)
Ian Charlesworth & Natasha Jolob (The Social Investment Business) (click to download the presentation) ,   Sarah Crawley (i-SE) (click to download the presentation)

SROI and social accounting: measuring social and economic return
Pan-Europe, Intermediate - Advanced
The results of Social Return on Investment (SROI) and social accounting carried out to date on the Social Firm model have been very impressive and the approach has the potential to be quite powerful, but what is it all about? How can a Social Firm or social enterprise even start to consider measuring and monitoring its impact when it’s already dealing with scarce resources and stretched capacity? This session will outline some of the basics behind Social Return on Investment and social accounting with a view to making the methodology more accessible for those who are keen to explore it further.
Di Cunliffe (Social Firms UK)
Sheila Durie (Haldane Associates) (click to download the presentation) , Sue Livett (The Aldingbourne Trust) (click to download the presentation)

Information Technology as a sector for job creation
Pan-Europe, All
One of the most challenging stages of developing a Social Firm or social enterprise is deciding which business/industry sector to go into based on where the market opportunities are. The information technology sector has a relatively low profile within the range of Social Firms across Europe. However, where individuals with this IT expertise have set up ventures there is a relatively high return in terms of job creation prospects within the business. This workshop will hear from two Social Firms working in the sector and explore the reasons why there are so few Social Firm businesses in IT and where the future opportunities lie.
Anton Senner (BAG Integrationsfirmen e.V.)
David Barker (Whitebox Digital), Gerry Higgins (CEiS representing Specialisterne)

Using research to inform future growth
Pan-Europe, Intermediate - Advanced
Although the Social Firm sector is relatively young, lessons learnt from the growth of the sector to date can and should be used to inform how the sector could grow in the future. As the interest in social enterprise has increased across Europe, so the role of Social Firms in job creation has become more distinct and recognisable, but what do we actually know about Social Firms across Europe? This session will briefly outline some of the existing research that is known and discuss in more depth the type of research now needed to take Social Firms forward. What do Social Firms need? Information to support the practical growth of the businesses; assistance with political lobbying or perhaps the awareness raising work that is essential to create the right climate and support for Social Firms.
Kathy Baker (Social Firms UK)
Geof Cox (Geof Cox Associates), Christiane Haerlin (BAG Integrationsfirmen e.V.) (click to download the presentation) , Nathan Burgess (Centre for Knowledge Transfer)

Working out your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) pitch
Pan-Europe, Intermediate and need to have identified their own USPs (unique selling points)
Most major corporate companies are committed to promoting non-economic social values and are using increasingly creative methods of channelling these efforts. As Social Firms and social enterprises work to a triple bottom line there are, on the face of it, many ways that they can help deliver on CSR. Opportunities can be identified through a greater understanding of a company’s objectives and how they are realised.
Sara McGinley (Social Firms UK)
Nicky Major (Ernst & Young) and others TBC

Getting the right non-executive Directors, with the right skills, onto your management board
UK, All
A Social Firm or social enterprise requires directors who have the appropriate skills to oversee and guide the business, through good times and more challenging ones as we’ve encountered recently. Yet this seems to be an area where Social Firms and social enterprises often struggle. The consequences of having a weak board can be disastrous for the business so poor governance needs to be addressed. This workshop will explore some of the most common issues that arise and what practitioners can do to strengthen their boards’ practice.
Ian Joseph (Trustees Unlimited)
Marcus Pheasant (Furniture Link Bedford, invited), (click to download the presentation)
Jeff Sutherland-Kay (non-exec Director, Furniture Link Bedford)