Matt Black of Pioneers Post gave his answers to ‘Five tough questions for social enterprise in 2013‘ in January followed by David Floyd on his Beanbags and Bullshit blog. David asked whether someone else could chip in with their thoughts in March so I thought I’d oblige:
Q1: Can social enterprises survive the economic gloom?
Social enterprises can, but whether they can afford to continue to pay previous salaries is unlikely. In a #socent world where most are ltd by guarantee (and where the director’s have no equity / skin in the game) the default response, in my experience, that director’s and CEOs adopt when running out of cash is the same as if they were running charities: to either jump ship (even if that’s to the public sector) or close in the case of RISE, rather than work more hours for less money (the default response in any mainstream small business). I believe there will be a lot more #socent folk having to change jobs in 2013.
Q2: Can Big Society Capital deliver?
It will continue to deliver additional funding to social investment intermediaries, whether those can deliver social and financial returns is the real question.
Q3: Can social enterprises, mutuals and the voluntary sector deliver where the state has receded?
Philanthropy increases when the state does less so I would expect more voluntary activity. Whether social enterprises (including mutuals) step in all depends on the business case – whether they can create paying customers.
Q4: Can brand ‘Social Enterprise’ keep clean?
It hasn’t so far.
Q5: Will the definition debate be settled once and for all?
There are too many opposing interests to make that a reality, plus it would be too much for #socent advisers / leaders to have to fill the void left behind in their lives 🙂