Our offer to social enterprises

arc works with social enterprises to evaluate their needs, looking at gaps in the organisation’s skills and capacity.  Based on this needs analysis, arc will construct a support package made up of:

1. Expertise
2. Support to access finance
3. Profiling

Each support package is uniquely developed to meet the specific needs of each social enterprise to help them to grow their business; from new and improved internal structures and processes to get ready for new business, through to profiling opportunities and new business pipelines.

1. Expertise

Business Expertise
arc works with its business partners to find skilled business people to work with your social enterprise.  This business support takes one of two forms:

  • Business Advisors
    One or two business people work with the social enterprise over a period of at least 6 months, meeting regularly to advise on issues facing the social enterprise.  These business people are selected to have skills the social enterprise requires (e.g. marketing, HR, IT). The Business Advisors role is to help you navigate the programme of support and also help to originate and monitor Projects.
  • Projects
    Business people work with the social enterprise on specific projects to overcome skills gaps and capacity issues.
Important note about this support
The support provided by businesses is intended to support the social enterprises with capacity and skills constraints, through guidance and work on projects.  The business people providing the support are not an ‘in’ to the supply chain of the business or providing pro-bono support (and cannot be held liable for any losses arising directly or indirectly from the work)
Training and workshops
arc is working with expert training providers to deliver training courses based on what social enterprises want to learn about. Previous subjects include:
  • Developing a strategy and business plan
  • Finance, financial management and planning
  • Harnessing PR & Media
  • Sales techniques and customer relations
  • Harnessing Social Media
  • Setting up operational systems for your business
  • Introduction to Social Impact Monitoring
  • Managing business functions
  • Develop a Marketing and Communications Strategy
  • Managing People
  • Negotiate your way to success
The process for running training courses is as follows:
  • arc social enterprises and training providers can add, and comment on, course ideas through an online tool.
  • Using the online tool, social enterprises vote on the suggested training topics (a vote for a course represents a commitment to attend the course).
  • If a subject receives five votes the training provider begins developing the course and shares the details with the social enterprises that voted for it, who can book via Eventbrite.
  • Once the date has been confirmed, details are shared with all arc social enterprises and online.  Any interested external organisations can book via Eventbrite.
  • Training courses cost the social enterprise £30 per course day.  Generally, one person per social enterprise may attend each course – this does not have to be the Founder/CEO of the business.
Social enterprises can receive consultancy from CAN to help them monitor, develop and report on their social impact. This can cover areas such as:
  • How to apply Social Return on Investment principles
  • How to build processes to monitor, evaluate and act based on social impact
  • How to powerfully report social impact to different stakeholders, particularly investors
  • The consulting is intended to be light-touch and collaborative, with the emphasis on the social enterprise to do the work whilst being ‘steered’ by CAN’s consultants. Please note there is a limited budget for this aspect of support.

2. Support to access financial services

arc works with the range of social investment providers to help social enterprises become investment ready and access the right finance:

  • Fredericks Foundation - Loan funding for start-up social enterprises, typically of between £3,000 and £10,000
  • UnLtd - The foundation for social entrepreneurs, providing grants of up to £25,000
  • ClearlySo - Clearly Social Angels is an angel network designed to facilitate the flow of capital from private investors into extraordinary businesses which help to create positive social change.
  • Big Issue Invest - Individual loans or equity-like investment in amounts ranging from £50,000 to £1m.
  • Bridges Ventures Social Entrepreneurs Fund - The Fund can invest from £200k to £1.5m in order to help social enterprises seeking capital to scale their operations and impact.

3. Profiling and new business support

arc actively profiles social enterprises with Business in the Community members, our wider business and public sector networks and consumer audiences.
A key focus for arc is to encourage businesses and consumers to buy from social enterprises. For example:
  • We have produced a series of ‘Buying from Social Enterprises’ thought leadership papers to encourage businesses to open their supply chains to social enterprises
  • Social enterprises have been profiled at events such as arc anniversary celebrations, or Celebrating Enterprise Week with HRH The Prince of Wales
  • Various events connecting social enterprises with buyers from big businesses, to facilitate new business opportunities
  • Features such as the arc/SEUK Buy Social This Christmas Gift Guide, featuring products from 12 social enterprises.  The campaign was widely circulated across the BITC business networks and channels, as well as within the social enterprise sector
  • arc advertising campaigns have profiled social enterprises with poster adverts across TFL and DLR networks
Please note that while we do profile social enterprises with our businesses, not all profiling opportunities are suitable for all social enterprises, and we cannot make direct unsolicited introductions to BITC members.

Key Contacts

Sofia Nibali
Programme Manager, Enterprise and Culture
Georgia Watson
Coordinator, Enterprise and Culture

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