SHINE 2011 at the Hub Westminster certainly proved itself to be ‘the UK’s leading unconventional conference (or unconference) for socially-minded entrepreneurs’ which is due to the formidable Amanda Jones from the pioneering for-profit social enterprise Red Button Design and the great work by the team at Unltd with a special mention to the PR guru Francesca Carpanini who was kind enough to answer all my questions and point me to the right places and more importantly people. I finally got to have a chat with the super-nice and super-energetic Liam Black who I thanked for getting the crowd at the Social Enterprise Wales conference in Swansea to shout my company name!
And it was great to bump into the entrepreneur & designer Marianne Bailey at the business card wall.
Marianne is an experienced product designer who is looking to move into the social purpose space with three new revolutionary products. We’ve since chatted on Skype about how best to start-up her social enterprise and it’s become even more apparent to me that the best structure to use for new social entrepreneurs is the good old regular ltd by share company which you can buy for less than £20 online and become a director the same day. Sure you won’t meet the criteria for the Social Enterprise Mark - but that exclusive party is coming to an end anyway – but what you will have is the flexibility to take your business in any direction. If you need to become a Community Interest Company (CIC) at a later stage to satisfy your social investors or lock in your social purpose then you’ve got that option. Plus what better way to influence mainstream business than by using the default structure? And rest assured you will be able to use the collaborative Social Enterprise Brand being adoted by social entrepreneurs such as Craig Dearden Phillips with Stepping Out and MJ Ray with the Software Coop to show that your motivation is to make profit and create shared value for all.
In the Hub were Typographical Manifestos by fantastic designers Kyra Choucroun and This Is Reed and I was very inspired by one they did on the The Generation M Manifesto by the visionary economist Umair Haque so subsequently created my own based on the Tedx talk by Christine Bader on a manifesto for the corporate idealist (click on the image below for a full A0 size PDF):