Recognition for socially aware approach.
Coventry University has been awarded the Social Enterprise Mark, underlining its status as an organisation that delivers social benefit by helping to develop sustainable local businesses.
The Mark was presented at an awards ceremony on Tuesday 21 October in recognition of the work of the University as a social enterprise, its day-to-day business and outreach to students and the local community. In addition, the Mark helps to celebrate the creation of Coventry University Social Enterprise (CUSE), a Community Interest Company, which is devoted to helping staff, students and alumni set up social enterprises.
The event also saw CUSE officially launch its ‘Enterprise Hub’, which will provide tailored business support for entrepreneurs, including those looking to develop businesses that tackle social problems, improve communities, people’s life chances, or the environment.
Coventry University is the first in the Midlands and one of only a handful of universities in the UK to have been awarded the accolade and joins other ethical businesses that have been presented with the Mark, which include Age UK Enterprises, Eden Project and the Big Issue.
Keith Jeffrey, managing director of CUSE, believes that the University being awarded the Social Enterprise Mark reinforces the organisation’s commitment to supporting sustainable businesses and consequently helping local communities to thrive and prosper.
Keith said: “The work we are doing champions the idea of social enterprise, while allowing us to support, manage and implement the most effective ideas. “Through the Enterprise Hub, we are able to support businesses at all stages of the process by providing guidance on finance, marketing and business development, which enables social entrepreneurs to focus on their creative approach. The Mark is an endorsement of our commitment in this area and we are hopeful of helping to develop a number of positive case studies in our staff and student and alumni community over the coming months.”
Social enterprises differ from traditional businesses in that the majority of any money made is used to fulfill a social purpose, or is reinvested in the enterprise itself, its projects or a charitable arm. The Social Enterprise Mark CIC is the only authority that provides certification to businesses that have proven they operate as a social enterprise, putting people before shareholder profit. The more successful a social enterprise is the more social benefit they can deliver.
Government data estimates that there are 70,000 social enterprises across the UK, contributing over £24 billion to the economy and employing around a million people.
The Social Enterprise Mark aims to raise awareness of what social enterprises do in order to get more people to buy from, engage with, start up and work for social enterprises.
Lucy Findlay, Managing Director, Social Enterprise Mark Company, added: “As the only certification process for genuine social enterprises, the Mark guarantees businesses meet defined criteria, enabling people to trust that they are working to benefit people and planet. It also helps those businesses promote their business ethics and values.”