'Turn your imagination to social enterprises'
ENTREPRENEURIAL spirit is alive and well in North East Lincolnshire, which is also home to a top new facility to help get new firms off the ground.
That was the rallying call to budding business people who have been urged to turn their imagination towards setting up social enterprises.
It came at the launch of a centre to promote such businesses. The Social Enterprise Centre on Wellington Street, Grimsby, will support new and established social enterprises.
They are businesses that have social objectives at their heart and surplus income gets ploughed back into the service it provides to the community.
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E-factor managing director Mark Webb said: "Social enterprise is alive and well in North East Lincolnshire.
"This has historically been an area with a higher than average dependence on public funding, so as that funding contracts, the impact on this area is going to be greater.
"Community groups and public services need different solutions to remain sustainable and Social Enterprise is one of those solutions."
He said advisers at the centre can provide resources, guidance, seminars, coaching planning and networking opportunities.
The grand opening was celebrated with talks from leading entrepreneurs, including Craig Dearden-Phillips and David Brereton of the Yorkshire and Humber School for Social Entrepreneurs.
Mr Dearden-Phillips told how North East Lincolnshire's social enterprise Navigo, providing care for hundreds of vulnerable people, had been set up with help from his company Speaking Up.
He urged budding entrepreneurs not to fear failure and said a good social entrepreneur should have a basic grasp of accounting as well as management, and said it was important to recruit the right people to the venture.
He sad: "If they are not right you have to move on for the sake of your business. It is hard once you have hired someone. You need a certain type of character and it has to be someone you like."
Mr Brereton said his school had been training people for 15 years and now had more than 850 fellows in social enterprises, which employ between two and three people.
They were joined by local social enterprise leaders, Lance Gardner of Care Plus and Stephen Ryder of Community Press Office media, who both gave an inspirational account of their journey to a successful social enterprise.
Mr Webb rounded off the event by encouraging anyone considering social enterprise to call or visit the centre.
He said: "Our advisers are there to help anyone develop a successful Social Enterprise.
"Like any business it all starts with a well thought through idea."
Details of the new centre are available from E-factor advisers on 01472 254920.