Wednesday 3rd July marked the second half of our 4 day Knowledge Exchange Programme tour 2013, and commenced the Northern leg of the programme.
The day was opened in the delightful surroundings of St Johns College, Durham University, by Dinah Bennett who gave an introduction to Durham University and to ICE and to its experience over the years in the fields of Entrepreneurial Learning and Enterprise development. Dinah explained how Professor Allan Gibb set up Europe’s first and largest Small Business Centre in 1971 at Durham which pioneered many of the Enterprise Education initiatives used around the world today.
Dinah then introduced Linda Rutter of the Social Economist. Linda’s presentation focused on the role of social enterprise as a vehicle to lead us out of recession, highlighting how it can add value to local, regional, national and global agendas using cross-cutting themes such as unemployment, business start up growth and expansion, social inclusion, job creation and product and service development.
Insights into social enterprise provided by Linda led us to understand that it is becoming increasingly recognised as a recession-led industry and a solution to public sector reform, with an emerging social banking system and social investment framework. Current thinking also embraces the concept of the private sector contributing to social wealth and the potential of creating a supply chain within the North East and UK economy. It was also evident that the academic journey of social entrepreneurship has been staggered, and is an area that needs developing with the support of social entrepreneurs, social enterprise practitioners and academia.
The tour then progressed to visit two social enterprises, including a Sunderland Care home which has over 250 members and also had a great article published in the guardian the previous day about some of its successes.
The second stop was CMR UK Ltd, a group that designs, manufactures and services instrumentation and controls for offshore platforms and vessels, marine, engines and industrial applications. CMR Group is an engineering partner for the world’s leading manufacturers, and a reliable electrical and electronic components provider for demanding applications.
Day three ended with dinner at Auckland Castle where the Malaysian delegation dined and networked with 25 diverse regional businesses from across the North East.