On November 26th 2021, GMSEN hosted its second face to face event since the pandemic hit, the second in a series of ‘Social Economy Social’ events for local social enterprise leaders and people interested in the wider social economy to come together, network and connect.

The event was attended by 30 individuals, mainly current or aspiring social entrepreneurs with some students also attending. There were also attendees from local organisations that work to support social enterprise, including Salford CVS, Manchester Community Central and GMCVO

The event was organised in partnership with Flourish Together CIC, who generously sponsored the event offering attendees their first drunk upon arrival. The venue was kindly provided by the meat-free GROW Café based on Manchester Metropolitan University campus, created and run by MetMUnch in collaboration with the university’s catering team.

MetMUnch is a social enterprise that started out in 2011 with £20 worth of vegetables at Smithfield Market in Manchester, giving away soup to passers-by. MetMUnch founder and Senior Lecturer in Nutritional Sciences, Haleh Moravej, both helped secure the venue for this event and engaged and entertained attendees sharing her experiences of her social enterprise journey (“we started with £20 worth of cabbage, a pot and a table…”).

Alongside Haleh, at an informal panel, attendees heard from a range of engaging speakers.  Andrew Baird, Senior Lecturer in Enterprise from MMU Business School, talked about ongoing work bringing social entrepreneurship into the curriculum at the university, encouraging students to look outwards and engage with local social issues on the ground.

Transformation & Empowerment Coach Jackie Bailey shared her experiences of supporting social entrepreneurs through BEE You! Jackie shared insights about the foundational importance of self-care for anyone looking to set up a social business venture.

Lee Stanley, CEO from SharpFutures CIC, a social enterprise that supports diverse talent into employment in the creative digital sector, shared his experiences of setting up and growing a social enterprise and some of the incredible work they do supporting young people into fulfilling careers.

There was a lot of networking at the event, helped by the fact that MetMUnch had kindly knocked up some delicious pizzas and pastries to help keep everyone going and the conversations flowing.

Looking ahead, the third in this series of ‘Social Economy Social’ events will take place from 5-7pm on Friday January 28th 2022 at the Old Abbey Taphouse. The panel conversation and Q&A will focus on social ventures that are developing community venues and community assets. For more information please click here.