Deborah Mitchell, RJ Working co-founder, recently graduated from the School for Social Entrepreneurs.
Conference aimed at promoting social enterprise in Cornwall by addressing issues of deprivation and poverty in the county.
This was in partnership with the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, (RSA), Plymouth University and the University of Exeter. The first annual event of its kind in Cornwall, entitled You Can’t Eat The View: Social Enterprise, was also attended by the Cornish Rural Community Charity, and Carers Break.
Deborah Mitchell co-led one of the afternoon seminars with Conference Organiser Alan Sanderson and Lesley Chandler (Chair of RJW Board) also attended the Conference.
The keynote address was delivered by Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the RSA. His presentation gave an overview of the RSA’s role before focusing on the use of social enterprise in Cornwall.
Matthew described the RSA as “a think and act tank”, in that the body undertakes traditional, desk-based research, as well as having founded academy schools and being in the process of developing a new type of rehabilitative prison service, plus a whole range of hands-on, innovative work.
The philosophy of social enterprise was defined by Matthew as “fundamentally about combining a motion of social concern and social responsibility, with a view that change is something that comes best if it is bottom up and led by people”. He highlighted diversity, innovation and inclusion as the key areas that social enterprise needs. Ultimately, social enterprise “has to believe that it is a sector that has an answer to the biggest problems that we face … and is driven by social concern”.
In summary he said that the social enterprise sector has to be about “making a difference by being different.” He added: “For all the problems and economic challenges Cornwall faces, it is actually in the lead when it comes to social enterprise, and it can be the way that Cornwall differentiates itself.”