'Business Navigator' FREE signposting service for Brighton area

Whether you are a new business or social enterprise, growing or looking to become more sustainable, there is support available to help make it happen. In 2015 Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce delivered the Business Navigator service in the Brighton area, and now in its second year we are helping to spread the word about the new team of Business Navigators based in Shoreham.

This FREE signposting service helps businesses navigate the myriad growth schemes and providers in order to help you access grants, funding and other practical support. Claire Atkinson, is the Business Navigator for the Brighton area, and she is providing a free service to businesses in the area via the telephone or face to face. Claire will guide you to the right local and national schemes, advice and support to help your business develop and grow. Claire can help you save time, money and stress by locating the best potential opportunities.

You can reach Claire on 07912 894409 or email claire@prevista.co.uk

The service is FREE to use – all you need to do is talk to Claire claire.atkinson@c2cbusiness.org.uk at Coast to Capital.

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.

Free funding workshop - 3 November

Economic Change CIC is offering a free funding workshop on 3 November, 10am to 12pm at Wagner Hall, Brighton, to explore support available for charities and social enterprises to help fund investment readiness or to take on larger contracts.

The Big Potential fund will be explained and advice available on how to apply for the money that will pay for professional support that will help you measure your social impact and have the systems in place to be investment/contract ready. The programme aims to raise awareness of the social investment market

Economic Change is one of the preferred providers for The Big Potential Breakthrough Fund, which will deliver approximately £10m of grant funding over 3 years to eligible VCSE (Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise) organisations with the aim of improving sustainability, capacity and scale to deliver greater social impact.

To book a free place for this event, visit their website and click on the Brighton link: http://www.economicchange.co.uk/big-potential-funding-workshops/

Free one-to-one support for Social Enterprises

You can book one-to-one support to help develop your existing social enterprise or start a new one!

Free one to one support available until end of April 2016, from West Sussex Social Enterprise Network.

Voluntary Action Arun and Chichester – will give one to one support for Chichester and Arun based groups. Contact VAAC, 01243 840305 or email  referral@vaac.org.uk

University of Chichester – for support with your business plan or marketing strategy contact Gareth Sear, 01243 812041 or email G.Sear@chi.ac.uk

Sandpiper Business Support Ltd – for support to voluntary and community organisations and social enterprises outside Arun and Chichester Contact Barbara Beaton, 01424 893698 or email barbara.beaton@sandpiperbusiness.co.uk

Social Enterprise Hub Incubation Competition

The Platform is very excited to announce a new opportunity for a social enterprise to benefit from incubation support in the social enterprise hub at The Platform; including free work space and a range of resources and activity.

The competition is open to all social enterprises, start-up and established, that feel they would benefit from basing themselves at Brighton & Hove’s vibrant social enterprise hub and from full engagement in the support and activity The Platform has to offer.

What will you get from the Social Enterprise Hub?

  • A base for a 6-month period
  • A free individual desk space in a dynamic shared office space (with potential to rent the desk after 6 months)
  • Central Brighton location, just off West St and close to the beach!
  • Free phone line for local landline calls
  • Reasonable use of photocopier
  • Access to reception for message taking and deliveries
  • Access to wi-fi & broadband internet
  • Lockable filing cabinet
  • Support with finance; forecasting, spreadsheets, cash flow (6 hours across the 6 months)
  • Use of meeting rooms (60 hours across the 6 months)
  • Own set of keys – to enable access to office between 9-6 Mon – Fri
  • Use of postal address
  • Close access to car parks
  • Free attendance at Social Enterprise Support Events and support (mandatory where relevant)
  • Access to informal in-house support and resources
  • Access to support from volunteer experts and work placements
  • Access to the most recent news and knowledge about social enterprise
  • 1 free use of Wagner Hall and training rooms and further uses heavily discounted
  • Kitchen facilities with microwave, teas and coffees
  • Being at the centre of the growing community of social entrepreneurs in the city, with continual organic connections and introductions to like-minded entrepreneurs

What you will commit to the Social Enterprise Hub:

  • Monthly blog posts on your experience and progress
  • Involvement in wider publicity activity
  • Monitoring and evaluation
  • Attending social enterprise events
  • Being open to supporting The Platform and other social enterprises, wherever possible

How to apply?
Return a complete Expression of Interest form to emma.turner@theplatform.org.uk by 12noon on the 28th Feb. Downloadable here.