29 August 2012
Organisations from across the UK attended the Social Innovation Fair
Social enterprises and support bodies from across the UK have warmly welcomed Scotland’s first Social Innovation Fair, held recently in the University’s award-winning Saltire Centre.
It gave social innovators from a number of different sectors the opportunity to network and share new ideas.
Javita Narang, from Weaving Destination UK - who recently won a Social Innovation Incubator Award from The Melting Pot – said she valued the opportunity to learn from her peers.
She said her project - which supports vulnerable indigenous women in India in the production and sale of ethical silk items such as scarves – was new to working in the UK.
“Events such as this are very important to us as we’re looking for as much information on what we need to do to grow our project. We are interested in learning about the funding which may be available to us and about issues such as marketing our ethically produced products to the right consumers.”
Social innovation has been defined as the search for new products, services or business models which meet pressing social needs. Examples include microcredit – the provision of tiny loans to support entrepreneurism in low income areas – and new ways of low carbon living.
Tom Black, of the Community Ownership Support Service, which helps communities take on property and develop them, added:
“We are a small organisation so an event like this is useful in that we can find out what similar organisations such as ourselves are offering and therefore offer communities the full spectrum of support.”
Peter Telfer, Brightsolid Online Technology - who produce social enterprise software – said: “We’re not a social enterprise but we believe there are things the private sector can offer and learn from the third sector. The fair is a great opportunity to meet people with similar interests who have faced similar challenges and found out how to resolve them.”
Mark Anderson, GCU Head of EU Programmes and fair co-organiser, said: “There’s a great number of people and organisations here and I hope there will be exciting decisions made and new ideas taken forward as a result of this unique event.”