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Construction heavyweights line up to work with East Midlands social enterprises

To mark Global Entrepreneurship Week, Nottingham City Council, Social Enterprise UK and Wates Construction are hosting a ‘Meet the Buyer’ event next week to help more social enterprises in the East Midlands access emerging opportunities with major construction firms from across the UK.

The event, which will take place in Nottingham Council House on Thursday 16th November, will allow social enterprises to meet buyers from Wates Construction, Willmott Dixon, Balfour Beatty, Kier and the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce. Having delivered more than £50million of work for Nottingham City Council in the past few years, these businesses are keen to engage with local social enterprises for a broad range of services spanning construction, facilities management, cleaning, recycling, venue hire and more.

Social enterprises are commercial operations that reinvest profits back into local communities, allowing them to tackle social issues, boost people’s life chances and improve the environment.

Last year, the UK’s social enterprises outperformed its SMEs – with almost half (47%) growing their turnover year-on-year, compared with just over a third of SMEs (37%).

Charlie Wigglesworth, Director of Business and Enterprise at Social Enterprise UK, said: “Social enterprises have much to offer bigger firms. There is often a belief that they are not as commercially productive as the private sector, but that is just not true. They are businesses first and foremost, but with social good at their core.

“In the East Midlands we have less social enterprises than elsewhere in the UK, but it is a chicken-and-egg situation. Events like this are crucial to helping enterprises access private sector work. As more firms opt to work with social enterprises, more people will be encouraged to start up these highly productive and socially important businesses.”

Alistair McCallum, Regional Business Director for the Midlands at Wates Group, said: “Wates Group has been supporting and mentoring social enterprises across the East Midlands and wider UK for many years now and has helped many realise the commercial benefits of working with larger firms. By working with them, larger businesses not only have vital contracts for goods and services fulfilled, but can make a genuine and very real difference to the communities these enterprises support.

“This event is a must-attend for anyone that runs or is thinking about starting a social enterprise that could serve the construction sector.”

Councillor Sam Webster, Portfolio Holder for Business, Education and Skills, said: “Nottingham needs more social enterprises – and we benefit from sustained business growth and new business start-ups to support them. This event is a rare opportunity for organisations of both varieties to come together for mutual benefit.

“Social enterprises are not charities, they are highly productive commercial operations – as statistics show. It makes business, as well as social sense, for us to embrace and engage with their potential.

“With the help of partners at Social Enterprise UK, Wates Construction and other major buyers from the construction sector, we hope that this event will mark the beginning of a new era of social enterprise and private sector partnership here in Nottingham.”

To register for the event please email major.projects@nottinghamcity.gov.uk or visit the event page here. You can also follow the event’s activity on Twitter by following the hashtag #SocEntSupply.

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