Leicester City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby welcomes the WISE programme and the support for
development and growth of local social enterprises that it brings
Working in Social Enterprise (WISE) is a programme delivered collaboratively by the University of Leicester, CaSE-da and Voluntary Action LeicesterShire, to support new and existing social enterprises, voluntary, charity and community groups in Leicester.
The WISE programme is an excellent chance for people to explore and develop businesses that provide them with an income whilst also addressing challenges in their communities. Social enterprises create jobs and opportunities and allow the owners to run businesses that balance social and financial aims equally.
Dorothy Francis, CEO of CaSE-da, said: “WISE offers a great range of services to anyone in Leicester thinking of setting up a social enterprise or needing help to grow an existing business. Whether you have never run a business before, are considering forming a social enterprise from a voluntary or community organisation or need help to develop and grow an existing social enterprise, the WISE programme is for you.”
WISE recently linked up with Leicester City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby when he met students of the University of Leicester to discuss the list of priorities in Sir Soulsby’s agenda where he lays out 100 pledges for Leicester. The topic under discussion was how the WISE programme can help to support Pledge 52 which is support for social enterprises. Sir Soulsby acknowledged that Leicester has a “very proud history of supporting social enterprises and they have filled some very important gaps and often broken new ground.”
Sir Peter Soulsby said: “What we want as a city council is to make sure that local social enterprises and co-operatives are successful and are able to follow the path of social enterprises such as Soft Touch Arts and Stride. The City Council is keen to assist the WISE programme to build on the success of those social enterprises and cooperatives already established.”
The WISE project provides specialist advice and support to help set up new social enterprises and to support the growth and development of existing enterprises.
The WISE project offers different support strands provided by the three partners. The Co-operative and Social Enterprise Development Agency (CaSE-da) delivers one-to-one tailored advice and in-depth training courses for those thinking of social enterprise and also for existing businesses. Topics covered during the full day courses include marketing, bookkeeping and employment law amongst others.
The University of Leicester matches social enterprises and voluntary organisations with a student or graduate placement to develop a chosen project thus injecting the organisation with fresh ideas and talent, while providing an invaluable work experience opportunity for students.
Sir Soulsby commented “WISE is obviously of benefit to emerging and existing social enterprises, but is valuable for students as well. By getting involved in WISE they engage in the life of the city. I feel strongly about this because I came to Leicester as a student myself, and during my time as a student I became engaged in the public life of Leicester, working within organisations in the city. I very much hope that as happened to me, local students will choose to develop their skills in Leicester, make their home here, and, as in my case, to bring their family up here”
The programme is sponsored by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) allowing Leicester residents to gain access to free of charge specialist advice and support.