The company will help start-up and existing enterprises that want to benefit society.
Inspire2Enterprise is a partnership between The University of Northampton and Exemplas. It offers social enterprises a free-to-access information, organisational review and advice service. Additional (chargeable) services include legal and financial advice, and research services (including market intelligence and support with tenders).
The service – which is now live and can be contacted Monday to Friday (8:30am to 5:30pm) on 0844 9800 760 /firstname.lastname@example.org – is currently covering Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and Northamptonshire. Inspire2Enterprise will eventually roll out to provide cover nationally by June 2012.
Inspire2Enterprise will provide the support needs for a variety of clients, including start-up and established social enterprises, and will also work with the public sector and its employees to achieve spin-out enterprises, and larger organisations with Corporate Social Responsibility objectives.
Social enterprises trade in the market with a social purpose and use business practice to achieve social aims. Government data* estimates there are around 62,000 social enterprises in the UK contributing £24 billion to the economy. Social enterprises employ 800,000 people and, despite the recession, are twice as confident of future growth as typical small to medium enterprises (SMEs).
Professor Nick Petford, Vice Chancellor of The University of Northampton, commented:
“”We want to improve the economic, social and cultural life of our region and as such have set ourselves the target of becoming the leading higher education institution in social enterprise by 2015. There has never been a greater need for this kind of support service given increasing pressures on public services in the current economic climate.””
John Collier, Chief Executive of Exemplas, adds:
“”We are delighted to be working with The University of Northampton on this new initiative. We have great experience of supporting small and medium sized enterprises as well as delivering specialist support to the social enterprise sector. By collaborating with the University we can bring considerable knowledge and expertise to this rapidly growing sector.””