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30 May, 2016

Transforming communities in Manchester and Glasgow: ethical values in social entrepreneurship

Manchester Metropolitan University’s Cheshire Campus, Crewe, hosts ‘inspirational’ TIGERoadshow, attended by social entrepreneurs, small business owners, students and academics

Ian Monteague, Chair of Glasgow charity FARE (Family Action in Rotherfield and Easterhouse)
Ian Monteague, Chair of Glasgow charity FARE (Family Action in Rotherfield and Easterhouse)

Prof Janet Haddock-Fraser of Manchester Metropolitan UniversityThe TIGERoadshow, on the theme of Trust and Integrity in the Global Economy, aims to tap into a new global consciousness about the social role of business and entrepreneurship. The event, held on 20 May, provided this through experienced and inspiring guest presenters.

Professor Janet Haddock-Fraser (right), Provost of Manchester Metropolitan Cheshire campus and Professor of Sustainability and Management, welcomed the participants with an introduction to the university and the relevance for Manchester Metropolitan in holding the conference. This was particularly so thanks to its strong social engagement and the university’s impeccable ‘green policy’. Manchester Met is ranked third in the People and Planet University Green League 2015.

Ian Monteague (left), the opening speaker, chairs the grassroots voluntary Glasgow charity FARE (Family Action in Rogerfield and Easterhouse). Having grown up in one of Glasgow’s poorest areas surrounded by a ‘lack of hope and vision’, he is now the epitome of an inspirational success story. During his animated and passionate speech, Ian explained how Social Enterprise is often misunderstood: ‘It isn’t someone at a youth centre selling hats.’ Rather, social entrepreneurship is worth millions of pounds, helps economic progress and ultimately brings back dignity to deprived areas through jobs.

Digging deeper into the issue, Ian argued that data drove everything in business although this is not the root of the problem. Instead, it is the behaviour of businesses that needs changing. ‘We, on the frontline, know from experience the problems that all economic groups face, but the top businesses make decisions on what they know about the top four per cent of wealthiest people in the world.’ The Q&A session with Ian threw up an interesting and lively debate, with one particular question standing out from the rest: ‘Are we just dancing around the big circles of power?’

Greg DaviesGreg Davies (right), founder of Community Wealth Creation, a community enterprise in Manchester’s Whythenshawe Estate, told how at the height of the rave culture in the 1980s, he had started a security business supplying door security to some of the toughest venues in the UK. Following a number of attempts on his life, Greg turned his interests to inner city street culture and created the UK’s first inner city cultural centre. Its main aim is to bottle gang culture’s energy and creativity and use it in a positive, more effective way. He explained: ‘When hope begins to be damaged, that’s when we have a problem in estates.’

Leadership was a recurring theme during Greg’s speech. ‘Many of the teenagers in inner city areas are looking for some direction and leadership,’ he said. ‘Often in these areas, criminals are the natural leaders and this is what needs to change.’ He explained in depth what he was up against, stating that the media was a big problem with their negative portrayal only deepening problems. ‘We did not label ourselves as deprived; politics and the media did and then the community grew within that image.’ In a bid to combat these problems, Greg selected 17 working class leaders to manage the centre as well as become community leaders. They opened communication lines with all gangs and kids, thus moving from gang culture to social enterprise.

Nathalie OrmrodJournalist and business author Mike Smith explained the rationale behind his ‘five pillars of trust: Sustainability, Cooperation, Integrity, Purpose and Stewardship (SCIPS)’ taken from his recent book Great Company. Mike, who is Head of Initiative of Change (IofC) UK’s Business Programme, has worked with IofC since he was 19, including three and a half years in India. ‘We are all on the front line of the global economy,’ he said. It affected all of our lives, from the food we eat, the transport we use, the air we breathe—and the plastic we throw away. He outlined a new growing consciousness, ‘the social and ecological contribution of business towards human wellbeing, a sustainable planet and the common good.’

Concluding feedback comments focused on leadership, how to encourage new entrepreneurs and how to move towards ‘ethical entrepreneurship’. ‘TIGERoadshows are thought-provoking events,’ says Nathalie Ormrod (left), Senior Lecturer in Marketing and Business Ethics, who was the Manchester Met event coordinator with Initiatives of Change. ‘Social and ethical entrepreneurship needs to be embedded in contemporary business programmes in order to sustain tomorrow’s businesses with leaders respectful of their stakeholders, communities and environments. It was a pleasure, if not a duty as a business lecturer, to bring this inspirational conference to the campus.’

by Thomas Bradshaw

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