I am writing about your story yesterday regarding the conditional approval of a loan to a social enterprise in Greater Manchester – SharpFutures.
SharpFutures is a social enterprise with a significant track record of success helping local people to get into work in the digital and creative industries. SharpFutures is part of a growing wave of businesses that put people and planet before profit and are transforming communities across the world. This region has a proud history is backing different forms of business going all the way back to the Rochdale Pioneers, and it is right that GMCA gets behind social enterprises by investing in them. Just because the Mayor is working closely with its CEO, this shouldn’t bar a good social enterprise getting investment, providing the right processes were followed – which according to your story, it seems they were.
It is also a sign of progress that the Mayor chooses to work with a successful local social entrepreneur rather than the usual suspects in the corporate sector. How many times have politicians turned to businessmen and asked for their support without the media commenting? We should welcome our leaders choosing to work with entrepreneurs who have put helping society at the core of their business, rather than talking about it as is so often the case.
I look forward to seeing the social enterprise movement continue to grow from strength to strengthen and congratulate the Greater Manchester Combined Authority in putting social enterprise at the core of its local industrial strategy.
Peter Holbrook CBE
Chief Executive, Social Enterprise UK