This told the differing fortunes of four social entrepreneurs in each of the home nations.

Opportunity can very much come from adversity

Rhoda Meek from Isle Develop had walked away from a contract in IT to start a tea company on the Isle of Tiree in the Inner Hebridees. Then COVID hit and the seasonal trade the island could expect was scuppered. Realising there were lots of other businesses in the same boat, Rhoda put together a directory of local businesses and started promoting them on social media. That has now developed into an e-commerce store selling products from many Scottish island.

It helps to remember your social mission in challenging times

CrackedIt, a mobile phone fixing social enterprise run by Josh Babarinde, is closing at the end of the year due to a lack of customers in corporate offices as everyone is now working from home. At first Josh considered keeping it going with emergency funding but soon realised that prioritising the continued existence of his social enterprise over the social mission was not the right way to go. Until they close, he’s going to share what he has learnt and focus on securing partners offering schemes aligned to CrackedIt’s mission of supporting young people away from crime and towards more positive futures through employment.

Support in challenging times can come in many different forms

Everyone needs some kind of support. And the various social enterprise support organisations might be good at offering practical, technical or financial help, but they can also be pretty good if you just want a cup of tea and a chat, according to Aimee Clint of Books by Stellas (who credited Social Enterprise Northern Ireland for this).

And believe it or not (!) support can be found outside the social enterprise ecosystem it seems. Santi Sorrenti of G(end)er Swap CIC said she can be buoyed by artists or teachers doing interesting work. “Gaining inspiration and energy from different people working on different things is really important,” said Sorrenti.