Our chair, Lord Victor Adebowale has the ambition to significantly 'move the needle' on the public understanding of social enterprise; to ensure that those with influence and power improve the appreciation of the true potential of social business solutions to today's major challenges and to provide genuine alternatives to questions surrounding the future of economy and the future of business. Our voice must penetrate above and beyond the current debates between the binary options of state vs private provision.

It's an ambitious vision and one that the team at SEUK is committed to. In the wake of Carillion's collapse and with other outsourcers announcing profit warnings, there now more than ever a need to make the case for doing business better: organisational structures matter; accountable, representational governance matters; culture matters. For too long there has been a belief held by many in power, that social enterprise is a nice thing to have, but is too small and too peripheral to really provide the solutions our economy and communities so desperately require.

I'm therefore delighted to welcome both Nationwide Building Society and the Cooperative Group to our family of members. These organisations challenge the premise that social businesses cannot scale and I know they will be powerful allies in growing our movement and winning the arguments ahead. We are developing some exciting ideas with them both.

The Coop Group has been on an interesting journey over recent years and I'm excited by their emerging bold and confident ambitions for the future; celebrating their cooperative difference, investing in communities where they work and reaffirming their original values by doing business differently. They are welcome companions to Coop Energy, the Phone Coop and the many hundreds of community energy coops that sit within our network.

I'm also delighted that Professor Mariana Mazzucato will be our keynote speaker at the Social Value Summit later this month. Mariana is an internationally recognised economist and a powerful voice for reforming whole economic systems. Like you and I, she recognises that the wellbeing of people and planet matter much more than the expansion of GDP at any cost. The Social Value Summit brings together a wide range of professionals from every sector and every kind of business and institution that you can imagine and last year one of our members reported securing the biggest business deal in their social enterprises history, so remember to stock up on business cards if you're coming. Only a few tickets remain so please remember to book quickly.

Over the next few weeks, Dr Claire Mansfield and Professor Jo Pritchard will be joining SEUK. Furthering the evidence base for social enterprise and exploring the impacts of our business models on productivity, social mobility, equality ratios, staff, customer and community wellbeing are just some of the areas we intend to research and explore. We also know from many of you that issues of workforce, recruitment, retention and talent are becoming more pressing than ever. We hope to begin to address some of those issues; your insights and ideas will be critical to achieving the outcomes we need and desire. Social enterprise needs to be a proud, aspirational career choice and we want to explore how we can ensure that your current and future staff take even more pride in the contribution they are making through choosing to work in our organisations and for the greater good - we are the future of business.

Finally, the Social Enterprise World Forum returns to the UK after 10 years of travelling the world, one continent at a time. Edinburgh is this year’s host city and the event takes place between September 12-15. The World Forum is an astonishing event and one that I never tire of. Thousands of practitioners from every industry, every continent, will be converging on Edinburgh to discuss, learn and share. Just like a passing comet or a lunar eclipse, it's one event you really must not miss

Peace and Love,

Peter Holbrook CBE.