EEUK Event in Greenwich (Part 2)

There were so many good speakers at the day that it is worth summarising some more wise words from the workshop.
One particularly fiery speaker was the CEO Partas which is a social enterprise in Dublin. He works in an area of high unemployment – up to 50% in places. He has a staff of 50 and has been involved in 200 business start-ups a year and manages four enterprise centres. Since 2008, income from state subsidies has dropped from 2.6 million Euros to 1.2 million.
His view is: don’t try to ride out the hard times. “Wake up and get real. Do we know where we are?”. His advice is to get tough and lose the ‘poor mouth’. He calls for honest self-critique. “How resilient/competent are we?” He talks most passionately about meetings. He is totally against a culture of meetings.
He is a great advocate for localism that can strengthen communities, reduce food miles, instil local pride and sense of place, connect people, support sustainability, full utilisation of local resources and provide jobs and infrastructure. He points to three trends: social enterprise, localism and a move towards artisan/craft food. He talks passionately about microenterprise at a community level involving skilled craftspeople, quality-driven demand, often involving small quantities and non-mechanised approaches using traditional methods using local seasonal produce. He believes there is a strong market for these things and, with the growth of food tourism, this can be highly attractive.
He likes to bring together underutilised space or plant and talks about a need to ‘cohese’. He quotes the example of a project called Kitchen Time. They identified the fact that some kitchens in the public sector were only being used for 3 hours a day. Now 7 kitchens can be booked for use by social enterprises. A recent venture is the establishment of a microbrewery – Priory Brewing Company at Tallaught reviving a centuries’ old tradition of brewing by the monks.
These Enterprise Educators UK events are free to YSJ colleagues as we are institutional members. The next one ‘Small is Beautiful’ is in Lincoln in March. Check it out and Register here.
Dr Mike Calvert

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