On Social Enterprise Day – November 15th – we held the Greater Manchester Social Enterprise Summit.
The event was attended by over 150 organisations and over 200 people and explored the key role of social enterprise in creating a thriving, inclusive economy in all parts of Greater Manchester, with panel discussions and workshops on topics such as digital innovation and social value.

We wanted to share with you an overview of the day. Below you can find details of the different sessions, slides and summaries of workshops, and photos from the event.

The summit was held at St Peter’s House, which is the home of social enterprise Milk and Honey Café. On the day of the summit, St Peter’s House were excited to launch the Spark Rooms, a community-focussed hub for artists, practitioners and social entrepreneurs. You can email mail them on thesparkrooms@stpeters.org.uk to find out more.

The morning opened with the bustling marketplace held in the foyer…

Social enterprise Paisley UK exhibiting their wares in the marketplace
Networking in the marketplace










Rose Marley opens the event

After some networking and perusing the social enterprise stalls, the event was opened by Rose Marley, Chief Executive of SharpFutures, who gave the attendees an engaging introduction to the day, encouraging them to be inspired by Greater Manchester’s history of social enterprise and touching upon her own long journey with social enterprise through her longstanding commitment to championing youth employment, business development and the creative digital sector. Rose also urged attendees to make the most of the opportunity to make new connections with people from other sectors and other boroughs.

Rose then introduced Cllr. Allen Brett, the GMCA portfolio lead for community, co-operatives and inclusion (including the VCSE accord). Cllr Brett helped position the summit and the vision for social enterprise in Greater Manchester in the wider history and culture of the city region. Cllr. Brett also introduced his own portfolio, highlighting his passion for co-operatives and their significance in Rochdale’s history and concluding that Greater Manchester is a place where social enterprise should thrive.

Cllr. Allen Brett's opening speech











Next, the attendees broke off into their choice of two workshops or a panel discussion....

Sharron Mooks, Jez Hall, Vikas Shah & Alice Sparks discuss their social enterprise journeys


Panel discussion: Lived experience of the social enterprise journey - Part 1: New Start Ups

This session was chaired by Lynn Sbaih of Give 2 Gain CIC and Jez Hall of Shared Future CIC and was the first of two sessions exploring people’s real experiences of setting up and running social enterprises. This panel discussion gave attendees the opportunity to hear the stories of people running new start-ups and to participate in a discussion with them.

We were delighted to have Vikas Shah - an award winning entrepreneur and board member for In Place of War - to introduce this session, starting with a few tips from his experiences of running social enterprises. Sharron Mooks of Manchester Roller Sports and Alice Sparks of Invisible Manchester were on the panel to share their insights and experiences.


Ed Cox of Reason Digital presenting in the Digital Innovation workshop

Workshop: Digital innovation and social enterprise

This workshop was delivered by Ed Cox of Reason Digital and Nick Godbehere of Hitch Marketing and looked at how digital technologies are shaping the future of social enterprise. It included a review of how digital technologies have been used to build successful companies and what this means for social enterprises. This included the steps and strategies that can be adopted to develop innovative approaches to using digital technology for social impact.

One digital approach discussed was emotional analytics – looking at how we can use technology to better understand and engage with people’s emotional responses to create lasting change.

Workshop slides

Digital Innovation and Social Enterprise
Digital Innovation basics


Participants at the Commissioning Possible workshop


Workshop: Commissioning Possible

This workshop was delivered by John Hannen and Beth Sharratt from GMCVO, who have been commissioning a range of projects through the Ambition for Ageing programme since 2015.

Having experience of both sides of the commissioning process, they were able to share insights inspired by the notion that “failure is the best teacher” – where frequently the inevitably unsuccessful applications outnumber successful ones.

This workshop looked at common challenges, misconceptions and mistakes that are made in the bidding process to offer a better understanding of procurement from the buyer’s perspective.

Workshop slides


The attendees then had another choice of two workshops and one panel discussion...

The audience listen to the panel


Panel discussion: Lived experience of the social enterprise journey - Part 2: Established Enterprise Business

The second of two panel discussions chaired by Lynn Sbaih and Jez Hall, this session focussed on the insights of those running more developed social enterprises. The panellists shared their experiences and advice on how they grew their enterprise and the kinds of challenges and opportunities that more established social enterprises experience.

The panellists were Adil Mohammed Javed of Alchemy Arts, Rachel Summerscales of Hulme Community Garden Centre and Nickala Torkington, co-founder of Flourish Together CIC.


Aine Graven in the housing workshop



Workshop: How can housing providers and social enterprises work together to achieve our social outcomes?

Delivered by Anton Schultz from One Manchester and Aine Graven from Rochdale Boroughwide Housing, this session looked at the shared social objectives of registered housing providers and social enterprises and how these organisations can work together to maximise these social outcomes.

This included a look at social enterprises as suppliers and delivery partners and also at opportunities for investment and support. The discussion looked at how this joint working is being achieved so far and explored further opportunities to work more strategically, and closer together to realise shared ambitions.
Workshop slides


Participants in the social value workshop


Workshop: How to manage the ‘social’ in your enterprise

This workshop was delivered by Ben Carpenter from Social Value UK and Anne Lythgoe from GMCA and looked at methods of managing your social value and improving your social impact.

This included an exploration of social impact measurement and how this feeds into social impact management by using information and data to improve a service or programme. It also explored the meaning and use of social value principles and how social accounting and audit can be used to embed accountability in your organisation and prove and improve your impact.

Workshop slides


Reform Radio DJing in the lunch break

After the morning workshops there was chance for more networking, marketplace exploring and a delicious lunch made by Milk and Honey Café. This was all accompanied by some lively music from Reform Radio.

We then launched into the afternoon workshop and discussion sessions...

Amy Win, Director at 4Lunch taking part in the panel discussion

Panel discussion: Social enterprise as suppliers - what is needed for social enterprises to become suppliers to private and public sector organisations?  

This final panel discussion offered a chance to hear from and engage with a panel which comprised experienced social enterprises, and colleagues based in the public and private sector. The panel was chaired by Grace Dyke of Yellow Jigsaw, and explored the challenges and opportunities of engaging with the private and public sectors as partners and suppliers. This discussion looked at the barriers social enterprises can face and how the sectors can work together to ensure that social enterprises are seen as equal partners and can deliver the social value that is at the core of what they do.

The panel members were Priti Butler – Executive Director at The Big Life Group, Lora Cartwright - Head of Infrastructure Procurement at PwC, Lynda Brookes – Procurement Business Partner at STAR Procurement, Peter Schofield - AGMA Procurement Hub Programme Manager at Trafford Council, Tom Wilde – Social Investment Manager at Trafford Housing Trust, Amy Win – Director at 4Lunch, Joy Woods – Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Galliford Try.


Martin Henery discussing the Manchester Enterprise Centre

Workshop: How does university support the social enterprise journey? 

This workshop included four short talks from a range of social enterprise experts from within the two Universities in Manchester. Dr Mike Bull presented about the Manchester Metropolitan University Business School and how they support the development of students to be socially enterprising and critical thinking. Martin Henery looked at how the Manchester Enterprise Centre at the University of Manchester encourages the creation of new ventures.

Dr Leigh Wharton, discussed the Innovation Optimiser at The University of Manchester Intellectual Property (UMIP), which offers support to social entrepreneurs. Dave Dawes, Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, provided some perspectives on the relationship between social enterprise and the university sector. These presentations were followed by a discussion, led by Christopher Hepworth which considered ways in which universities could better support students on the journey of social enterprise and raise the profile of social entrepreneurship.

Workshop slides

Participants at the co-operatives workshop


Workshop: Co-operatives in Greater Manchester - a spiritual home and a promising future

Simon Borkin of Co-operatives UK looked at Greater Manchester’s significance as the birthplace of the modern co-operative movement and went on to discuss how the city region is building on its co-operative heritage to become a natural setting for co-operatives and social enterprises to start and grow.

This workshop included an introduction to the co-operative model and a look at the co-operative economy in Greater Manchester - offering a case study of Stretford Public Hall. The workshop then went on to look at future trends, including the key sectors where co-operatives are growing, and at opportunities to get support with your own co-operative ideas.

Workshop slides


After the afternoon workshops and panel session, the attendees gathered for the final plenaries...

Andrea Westall's presentation on SE building an inclusive economy


Plenary: The role of social enterprise in building an inclusive economy

Andrea Westall, Associate at the Inclusive Growth Analysis Unit discussed the important role of social enterprise in building an inclusive economy.

The presentation included a look at examples and evidence from the city region and around the world of this role in action and further considered how those contributions can help realise the wider Greater Manchester strategy. Andrea Westall explained that by addressing challenges and building capacity, social enterprise can be a key part of shifting the economy towards one which better delivers for people and planet.

Presentation slides

Jo McGrath discusses GMSEN and introduces Andy Burnham


Plenary: Launching the vision for social enterprise in Greater Manchester

This was followed by the final plenary in which the vision for social enterprise in Greater Manchester was launched by Andy Burnham. Jo McGrath, Co-Founder of Flourish CIC and representing GMSEN, introduced the session and spoke about her journey with social enterprise and the importance of coming together at a Greater Manchester level to showcase and strengthen the brilliant work of social enterprises across the city region.

Andy Burnham voiced his enthusiastic support for social enterprise and for the new vision for social enterprise, developed by the Greater Manchester Social Enterprise Network (GMSEN), in consultation with partners in the public, private and voluntary sectors, aims to continue this tradition by enabling the right conditions for social enterprises to succeed.

He said “There is a massive opportunity for social enterprise in Greater Manchester. We are the historic home of social enterprise, and we need to make it right for the 21st century. The best organisations want to be based in places with a purpose, so that's something we need to be communicating to the next generation. ”
 “I am absolutely confident that the best days of Greater Manchester lie ahead of us”, the Mayor of Greater Manchester added. “In the next 10 years, a lot of positive change is going to happen. That will be by people taking positive inspiration from what is happening around them rather than direction from Westminster."
Keep an eye on the GMSEN website for more updates from the summit and information about how to get involved with the vision for social enterprise in Greater Manchester. You can see the vision document here.

Questions from the audience
Andy Burnham's speech, launching the vision for SE in GM











We would like to thank all those who were involved in the summit. It was a brilliant day and it was wonderful to see so much enthusiasm for social enterprise and so many social enterprises showcasing what they do. We would particularly like to thank the event sponsors, without whom we would not have been able to deliver such an excellent event. Our sponsors were, The University of Manchester Intellectual Property UMIP, The University of Manchester Office for Social Responsibility, GMCVO, One Manchester, Trafford Housing Trust, Equity Housing GroupAnthony Collins Solicitors, Beever and Struthers, Charity Bank, First Ark Social Investment and Shared Future CIC.

We will share an update in the new year to let you know how the vision for social enterprise in Greater Manchester will be taken forward and how you can be involved.