#Socent Social & Showcase - a whistle stop tour

October’s #Socent Social & Showcase was an energetic affair.

#Socent Social & Showcase

#Socent Social & Showcase – Ruth at hiSbe

We started with a whistle stop tour of Brighton’s pioneering hiSbe supermarket, where co-founder, Ruth Anslow, shared her experiences of setting up what is now a thriving social enterprise that successfully explodes the traditional supermarket model.


One thing we would have done differently? … asked for help earlier on.‘ BHSEN at The Platform didn’t exist then, so make sure you reach out for help as soon as you know you need it.


#Socent Social & Showcase – The Rose Hill


We then sauntered / strode down London Road to convene the ‘social’ aspect of the event at The Rose Hill, a new community owned pub and social enterprise at the very early stages of its journey where Kassia shared with us their vision for the arts hub.



#Socent Social & Showcase – Kassia of The Rose Hill

The social began in earnest with budding social entrepreneurs chewing the ears off existing social entrepreneurs, #socent supporters sharing their offers, with enthusiasts and ‘simply interesteds’ exploring ideas and hearing stories.

There was space to share what you needed and space to share what was offered:

I need – 

A space to run a regular fitness class on a one off charity fitness event. Contact via Facebook: Vida Woman

I can offer – 

Desk space; we are going to run a competition for startups to win 6 months desk space at our offices. Contact The Platform info@theplatform.org.uk

Desk & furniture – Contact The Platform info@theplatform.org.uk

@weareneo can help puropose driven #socents with your brand, communications and campaigns. Contact alex@weareneo.com

Join us at our next extra special #Socent Social & Showcase on Wed 16th Nov, which is a fringe event to the meaning conference that is happening on the 17th Nov. Tranood will be available and showcases will be with The Big Lemon Bus and The Bevy.

15th December welcomes Stoneham Bakehouse as the showcase. Click to book your free place.

Email info@bhsen.co.uk for more info

A letter from your new #Socent Rep

Dear Social Enterprise Sector of Brighton & Hove

I am very happy to have been elected as the new Social Enterprise Rep on Brighton  & Hove’s Community Works Rep Council. I would like to express my full commitment to developing a strategic voice for the sector to influence key policies, plans and service re-designs –

  • Providing a strategic vision and direction for the sector representation and leadership activities, suggesting which key agendas should be focused upon at which times
  • Maintaining dialogue and influencing key policies, plans and services by;
    • Developing relationships with key decision makers in the city
    • Attending committees, partnerships, steering groups etc. as relevant and according to priorities in the Reps Council action plan
  • Connecting with the sector via Community Works membership and networking activities (as well as other groups and organisations) to ensure the sector’s current views are heard and understood.
  • Feeding back to the sector on reps influencing activities and outcomes.

I am always keen to hear from you regarding the challenges, opportunities and support needs that you face. I commit to sharing regular updates as to the activity of the Reps council with you, this will be done via this e-list, here on our website blog and also via the social enterprise network’s e-list. You can sign up for this at the bottom of this page.

I look forward to representing you well, now, and in the future.

Best wishes

Emma Turner

Brighton & Hove Social Enterprise Network event - 12th September 9.30am -1pm

Are you a social enterprise or want to become one? Based in Brighton & Hove? Come to our free event and find out more…
Get Tickets here
With a welcome from Caroline Lucas MP and a keynote speech from Alistair Wilson, CEO from The School of Social Entrepreneurs.
There will also be the following workshops:
  • HiSbe and Buzzbnk – The Crowdfunding Experience
  • Engage & Create and The School of Social Entrepreneurs – Starting Up
  • Big Lemon and Brighton & Hove Council Procurement – Building Relationships
  • The Woodstore – How to sustain your social enterprise

Chat to representatives from all the key organisations supporting social enterprise including Unltd, SEUK, SSE, Buzzbnk



Brighton-based ethical swimwear company goes from strength to strength

Brighton-based RubyMoon have been making ethical and sustainable swim and active wear for 5 years and due to demand, now offering a new high-tech multi-sports bra called ‘Zarina’. Support their campaign here…

They donate all net profits to women entrepreneurs in 11 developing countries, ‘because women invest in all the important things including nutrition, housing and education- leading to better chances for the children – and empowering women at the same time. Why did we call this bra Zarina? As a nice touch, we call are the pieces in our collection by the names of the women we invest in- Zarina Bibi lives in Pakistan and creates an income for herself by recycling knitwear. You can see her story on the RubyMoon blog‘.

Budding Social Entrepreneurs Start their Journey to Success

In May 2017, we were excited to welcome 10 budding social entrepreneurs to The Platform to take part in a course to help develop their ideas and confidence in setting up a social enterprise. The 6-day intensive course, otherwise known as the Launch Pad, was the first stage of the application process for the SEEK Programme which starts on the 3rd of July.

We were in awe of the applications that came through which covered a wide range of ideas to tackle social and environmental issues in Greater Brighton. Key themes were mental health and wellbeing and several ideas focused on supporting socially isolated groups and individuals.

Pitching Workshop 12 edit

The course, co-created by The Platform and the project partners – StartUp Croydon, University of Chichester, Croydon Council and UnLtd, offered a thorough introduction to social enterprise (what is and what’s not a social enterprise?), a chance to understand social issues and uncover the root causes and activities to explore viable business models.

The content covered was designed to provoke applicants to dig deeper and explore their idea thoroughly. Tools and techniques were shared to encourage applicants to develop an entrepreneurial mindset that would build their confidence in setting up a social enterprise and embarking on the startup journey. A safe space was created where there were no silly questions and we saw support being offered by applicants as well as specialists delivering sessions.

Before I started the Launch Pad course I had little or no idea of what a social enterprise was. All I knew was that I had an idea about helping young communities. Two weeks later, and now I am able to say I know what a social enterprise is and what they do. Thanks to SEEK I can now call my idea a social enterprise.

Following the Launch Pad applicants attended a pitching workshop and were then given the opportunity to pitch for one of seven places on the programme. The panel consisted of Project Coordinator, Sara Osterholzer; UnLtd startup specialist, Rebecca Luff; and social entrepreneur and Founder of FotoDocument, Nina Emett. Nina shared that she “was very impressed by the quality of the candidates and their ideas. The SEEK programme is clearly a great way to get people who are out of work back into the workforce in an exciting and innovative way”.

The selected entrepreneurs start their journey in July 2017 with a week-long training event in Brighton followed by 6 months of group and individual support to help build a strong foundation from which the participants build their enterprise and achieve their social mission. We will be highlighting the SEEK social entrepreneurs individually on a monthly basis so keep an eye out to follow their journey.

I would absolutely recommend the course to others as it was a very positive and inspiring experience. The course forces you to address issues you may not have known even existed. Good for personal growth as well.

Day 4 Launch Pad 01 edit

Interested in hearing more and applying to the programme?

The programme is taking place simultaneously in Brighton, Croydon and Chichester and much of the activity sees cohorts come together to engage in larger groups. The SEEK team will be recruiting for the 2018 cohort from November 2017. If you would like to stay in touch with updates and recruitment dates, sign up to the SEEK mailing list here.

The SEEK project has received funding under the Building Better Opportunities Programme which is jointly funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund.

East Sussex Social Enterprise Conference - 22 March 2016

East Sussex Social Enterprises – Launching strategy and Community Interest Company

Come along on 22 March 2016 to launch both the East Sussex Social Enterprise Strategy and the formation of Social Enterprise East Sussex CIC at the East Sussex Social Enterprise Conference 2016. This year the Conference will take place in University of Brighton, Hastings campus for an afternoon of inspiring speakers, topical discussions and practical workshops.There will also be an opportunity to help shape the future of support for social entrepreneurs. This year’s conference will be addressing issues facing social entrepreneurs at every stage from start-up to sustain and scale-up. Workshop topics include:

Investment for growth – what investment is available and how can you get involved

Financing start-ups – exploring the various options for funding your new social venture

Impact measurement – how can you capture it, use it and share it

European funding – what’s available now and what to look out for

Community enterprise – funding and support for community businesses

Please arrive from 12:30pm for networking before the opening speakers at 1pm.

University of Brighton – Hastings Campus – Priory Street Hastings TN34 1EA GB

Energy Co-op launch new service to stay warm as temperature drops

This week, to coincide with the launch of their new Energy Assessment service, Brighton & Hove Energy Services Co-operative Ltd (BHESCo) have also just released a helpful list of tips to stay warm, dry and save money during this winter cold snap.

The new Energy Assessment service is available for homes and businesses from January 2016 to everyone in Brighton and Hove and the surrounding areas. It is especially useful for those struggling to heat their homes and looking to lower their energy costs due to lack of income.  The co-op are also running a special offer throughout January and any new members who join BHESCo will receive a free energy assessment for their home or business.

It is a sad fact that in 2016, cold weather is still a killer. With more than 20,000 people dying as a result of cold weather every year in the UK, staying warm and reducing heating costs is a national issue which simply cannot be ignored. In Brighton & Hove, 12% of households (15,000) are living in fuel poverty, which is above average for the South-East. Due to the poor quality of its housing stock, the UK currently has twice as many ‘excess winter deaths’ than in Finland despite it being drastically colder there. Worryingly, it only takes a sudden cold snap to put the lives of so many at further risk. The situation is only likely to get worse as the number of households that receive energy efficiency improvements will reduce from 4.5million down to merely 1 million in the next five years.

So it is thanks to co-operatives like BHESCo who are launching home and business energy initiatives as well as developing alternative energy programmes and funding streams to help everyone in their community to stay warm, save money and save time. It is of particular importance to those in fuel poverty, especially if they have young children or older relatives.

Kayla Ente, Founder and Director of BHESCo, explained: “We are delighted to be launching our new energy assessment service from today which will empower and inform people on how to stay warm and save money.  We have worked hard to ensure our service will be affordable and impartial, enabling everyone to receive a complete energy assessment tailored to their circumstances.”


  1. Use a hot water bottle to keep out the chill.
  2. Close internal doors and turn off radiators in unused rooms. 
  3. Invest in proper draught-proofing products for the doors and windows. 
  4. Seal your skirting boards with silicone sealant, and fit a chimney balloon or umbrella.
  5. Top off your loft insulation to 250mm. 
  6. Secondary glazing film is inexpensive and an effective way to keep out draughts. 
  7. Draw the curtains at dusk to keep the heat in to prevent losing heat through draughts around doors and windows, gaps around the floor, maybe up a chimney or two, and a whole host of other little holes around the house.

Saving Money:

  1. Try turning your room thermostat down by one degree, every degree that you turn it down could save you around £65 a year on your heating bill. 
  2. Turn the heat down a couple of degrees if you are going to be away from home for a longer period of time.
  3. Turn everything off! Turning off lights and appliances will save energy and a family could save between £50 and £90 a year just by remembering to turn things off.

These handy top tips have been created as a way of helping people in the Brighton & Hove community and to encourage residents to realise they have the power to keep warm, save money and in the long term, save the planet.

BHESCo is a social enterprise created to help consumers lower their energy costs by empowering individuals to take more control of their energy supply. #Yourpowertosave

The co-op are also running a special offer throughout January 2016, any new members who join BHESCo will receive a free energy assessment for their home or business.

To book your Energy Assessment or find out more about becoming a member go to http://bhesco.k-hosting.co.uk/contact/ or freephone 0800 9996671 (01273 766671).


Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs

Have you recently set up a business or plan to do so soon? Are you an experienced social entrepreneur interested in mentoring a new entrepreneur? Then, the Erasmus for entrepreneurs programme is for you! (…and there is NO age limit!)

Euclid Network, the European network for social enterprises and civil society organisations, is implementing a European-funded programme that allows new or aspiring entrepreneurs to learn from experienced entrepreneurs running small businesses in another country, the Erasmus for entrepreneurs programme.

The Erasmus programme gives new or aspiring entrepreneurs the chance to learn from experienced entrepreneurs running small businesses in another European country. The exchange of experience takes place during a stay with the experienced entrepreneur (host entrepreneur), which helps the new entrepreneur acquire the skills needed to run a small firm. The host benefits from fresh perspectives on his/her business and gets the opportunities to cooperate with foreign partners or learn about new markets. The stay is funded by the European Union.

Euclid Network is trying to involve a maximum number of social entrepreneurs in the programme. If you are interested in taking part, please check your eligibility criteria and about Erasmus programme in general at http://www.erasmus-entrepreneurs.eu. If you need more information, please do not hesitate to contact Alexandra Yaghil, Policy & Network Officer at Euclid Network, at Alexandra.yaghil@euclidnetwork.eu.

GOOD FINANCE; a website for charities and social enterprises

SEUK are involved in Good Finance: a collaborative project which aims to improve access to information on social investment for charities and social enterprises. The project has been undertaking research with a range of people in social sector organisations to try and ensure it is built with them at its heart, and that it is as useful as possible for them. The research has identified (or reinforced) some of the areas that create ‘friction’ between the financiers and the enterprises – these include language (jargon), knowledge (on both sides) and mindsets (particularly the fixed ones).

The Good Finance project is about reducing this friction, and building knowledge and confidence – so it is now looking a little deeper into how that can be achieved.

Goodmoney CIC - social enterprise of the month!

Goodmoney CIC is a Brighton-based social enterprise, formed in June 2014. Our roots are in the complementary currency movement, and we came out of a project that looked into setting up a Brighton Pound. Work by organisations such as the New Economics Foundation (NEF) in evaluating complementary currency projects have shown that they have a number of benefits including:

  • Supporting local SMEs and other community organisations
  • Countering economic inequality and social exclusion
  • Reducing waste within a community
  • Building a more resilient local economy

There are some amazing examples of successful currency projects from all over the world, such as local pounds, interest-free mutual credit issued to independent local businesses, and time-banking credits. Goodmoney are working towards introducing some of these currencies to Brighton & Hove over the coming years.

But we needed a way to start – something simple and effective that we could build a network around. As NEF have shown, money spent with independent local businesses stays local for longer, creating more opportunities for everyone. So we decided to try and make it easier and more fun for people to choose to shop with independent businesses, rather than high street chain stores or online retailers.

So, we’re launching with a local gift voucher that can be spent with a wide range of Brighton & Hove’s best independents. The gift voucher market is huge – around £5bn is spent in the UK annually on gift vouchers and card – and the vast majority of this is spent with large high-street department stores or online retailers.

One of the key reasons people favour these kinds of vouchers over any offered by independent retailers is choice. However, as Goodmoney Gift Vouchers can be spent with any of the amazing local businesses on our directory, they offer a far better choice than any high-street voucher. From vintage shops, cafes, sports clubs, theatre, bespoke clothing, cakes, music lessons – all the things we love about where we live are available to buy with Goodmoney Gift Vouchers. And the great thing is, the more businesses join, the better the voucher becomes!

We’re currently recruiting independent local businesses and other organisations to the Goodmoney directory, and getting ready for our public launch in September. We already have over 75 members, but we want to double that before launch. So, if you run an independent local business, enterprise or charity in Brighton & Hove, make sure you sign up – it’s completely free to join, only takes 2 minutes and is a great way to get discovered by new customers!

We also put on workshops for our members around their needs – for example, we recently had a workshop run by our communication partners Long Run Works, all about the role of story telling in marketing your business. If you’d like to chat more about what we’re doing, you can also come along to one of our First Wednesdays social.

We’re currently running an art competition for children and young people. The winners will get their designs on the greetings cards that come with Goodmoney Gift Vouchers – a great way to get your art seen by lots of people!

At Goodmoney, we focus all our energy on building the new, and we’re very excited about what we can achieve here in Brighton & Hove by working together. If you run an independent local business, social enterprise, charity or other organisation in Brighton & Hove and would like to know more, get in touch with Dan Webb (dan@goodmoney.co.uk) or watch our short video.

How well do you know your city? Invitation to participate

‘How well do you know your city?’

Brighton & Hove Connected, in partnerships with the Equal-ity & Inclusion Partnership, invite you to our event looking at Equalities in Brighton & Hove. This is your opportunity to deepen your knowledge of the rich variety of communities and their challenges and assets within our city and what we can do to reduce inequality!!

Participate on:
**Thursday 15th September** **1:30pm-4pm**
Conference Hall, Jubilee Library, Jubilee Street, Brighton BN1 1GE

RSVP: Charmian Hay-Ellis on 01273 291036 or charmian.hay-ellis@brighton-hove.gov.uk