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Social Business Wales celebrates incorporating 150 social businesses

Welsh flag (Adobe Stock)

A business support programme delivered by the Wales Co-operative Centre has helped 150 social entrepreneurs and community groups set up new social businesses during Covid-19, providing growing evidence that social enterprise is fast becoming the new business model of choice for start-ups in Wales.

On the back of this success, Social Business Wales New Start is now launching a new campaign encouraging people from across the country to ‘Start Something Good’ to help create a better future for Wales and the local economy.

Those with a desire to make a positive impact within their local communities through business are encouraged to apply for the fully funded business support available through the campaign.

The Social Business Wales New Start team of specialist business advisors are located across the country to help with everything from business planning and board development to sales strategy and stakeholder engagement.

Carly McCreesh, Project Manager for Social Business Wales New Start said: “We are extremely proud to have incorporated 150 social businesses during this incredibly unstable and difficult economic period.

“We have helped some inspiring individuals and community groups get their business ideas off the ground and it has been an absolute pleasure to help them establish, create jobs, and do incredible things within their communities.

“In the wake of Covid-19 there has never been a more important time for communities to continue being innovative through business. From helping our most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in Wales, to tackling our climate emergency, we hope individuals and community groups continue to see social business as the business model of choice for years to come.

Social Business Wales’ latest success story, Any Penny, based in Neath Port Talbot, was established to support charities who have suffered huge losses and are struggling to generate income as a result of Covid-19. The four social entrepreneurs behind the business had a vision to provide local and, in time, regional charities, with support by creating an online ecosystem to generate much-needed income through a marketplace website.

Although they knew what they wanted their social business to be, they were unsure where to start. They approached Social Business Wales New Start who were able to help them navigate a minefield of different legal set ups and explained some important differences between social enterprise organisational types and legal structures. They supported the team to refine the vision for the business, identify the correct legal structure, develop their articles, and undertake incorporation of the business as a Company Limited by Guarantee.

Geraint Webley, from Any Penny said, “I have been really pleased with the help so far from Social Business Wales New Start, from helping us understand the different types of business structures we can use to registering our social enterprise with companies house.

“Things are difficult at the moment for everyone, especially with the Covid-19 pandemic that has hit us all, and I believe without the help I have received I don’t think we would have been able to setup Any Penny as quick as we have.”

Carly McCreesh added: “Social businesses are becoming an increasingly popular business model because there is less of an emphasis on profit maximisation and more of a shift towards benefitting the communities they reside within.

To continue this growing movement, we need those making a difference in our communities to come forward and help to create a better future for Wales. You don’t need experience in business, just an idea and a drive to do something good. Whether your passion lies in education, sport, arts, social care, or anything else in between, our New Start project can help turn your idea and passion into a viable social business.”

The Social Business Wales New Start support service is funded by the European Regional Development Fund through Welsh Government and delivered by the Wales Co-operative Centre.