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The (Social) Revolution is Here

Tue, 03 June 2014

Contributed by Jamie Dunn, Director at Spark Global Education
We are currently seeing a big rise in the number of social enterprises starting in this country, and quite rightly too. In my humble opinion, I believe that social enterprise is addressing many issues and problems that we face in the world today, but more importantly, they are addressing these issues in a more enterprising and sustainable way than traditional charities. 
The legal entity in which a social enterprise is governed is really interesting because it allows the business to trade, I.e sell products or services, but also allows them to go after funding pots that are unavailable to private limited companies. This is really exciting because it has meant that a lot of social Entrepeneurs I have met have developed a range of business models and means of generating different incomes that in turn make the business, and the impact that the business has, far more sustainable. One of my favourite businesses doing this has to be the Big Issue. They are providing support to homeless people by giving them the means of generating income and skills. Perfect.
It is always disappointing to see a charity that does great work and has great impact suddenly stop and have to close due to lack of funding, however, a social enterprise can operate in a more entrepreneurial way in order to survive, sustain and deliver more impact. I also think that this has done great things for the charity sector because it has forced this sector to become more entrepreneurial and enterprising in their approach to fund raising.
Even private limited companies are now operating with a more socially driven message and focusing on social outcomes. Most private companies are using their social mission as part of their USP and branding because they know that as a society we are becoming more conscious of social issues. We are seeing things like '10% of our profits go to a charity' or 'we employ ex-offenders' or something else that tackles a societal issue and this is a great selling point for a lot of businesses. With this, it's also the money that businesses spend and making that money go further, by spending the same amount. For example, I could pay a private company £1 for a product and that full £1 would line somebody's pockets, however, I could pay a social enterprise that same £1 for the same product, but I would know that for my £1 I've tackled a social issue, as well as got what I need. 
Business in this day and age isn't just about generating the most profit, but about what impact you can have with the profit you make and the businesses who fail to realise this will get left behind as we become a more socially conscious society. 
The revolution is here. Join in. 

About Jamie Dunn (Director of ‘Spark Global Education')

Jamie is a 22 year-old Entrepreneur that has previously been short-listed as one of the Top 20 Young People in the World 2012, a title once held by former US President, John F Kennedy. 

Jamie started in enterprise aged 12 selling unwanted items at school. By the time he was 15 he was making around £500 per week from 5 market stalls across Birmingham. At the age of 16, Jamie left school with little qualifications but won a place on the Peter Jones Pathfinder course as one of 28 from nationwide applicants, with this he moved to Buckinghamshire for 6 months. 

Aged 18, Jamie Co-founded the printing organization, Made By Young People that eventually held clients such as, Aston Villa, Ikea and Asda. Jamie successfully exited this business aged 20. Since then, Jamie has gone on to work with Governments and Educational Organizations from around the World on developing Youth Entrepreneurship eco-systems. Most notably, Jamie was an adviser to the Malaysian Government office surrounding enterprise education. During this time, Jamie also co-founded a multi-million pound investment fund, which provides mentoring, office space, finance and support to young people in the West Midlands who are setting up in business. 

Jamie now spends most of his time as a Director, Shareholder in Spark Global Education, an educational consultancy with operations globally. As an investor, Jamie has equity interests in different sectors ranging from Recruitment to Technology. Jamie also sits on, and advises many different boards and trusts including the BMET Enterprise Academy, Arrive Alive, TechMinsk and Arden Forest FC. Jamie also writes regular columns for, Shell LiveWire and various other publications and websites.
You can follow him on Twitter @JDEntrepreneur

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