Evaluation of Unpacking Social Enterprise

Held on 27th November 2018 in Portsmouth

Organised by Rotary Social Innovation and Action Hampshire 

Objectives of the event

  • Explaining Social Enterprise for people who would be interested in starting one;
  • Building awareness of how Social Enterprise services can impact sustainable community development;
  • Ensuring that the market place considers the need for diversity, accessibility and inclusion;
  • Build Rotary’s awareness of how the organisation can support, use services and network to help build the market place;
  • Opportunity for mutual support through networking and market place

Attendees of the Unpacking Social Enterprise event were asked to complete an evaluation of seven questions based on the objectives above, rating their answers on a scale of 5, where 1 = A Little and 5 = A Lot.

  • Questions 1-3 asked for a rating of their previous knowledge of Social Enterprise and the impact the event had had on their understanding.
  • Questions 4-5 queried their understanding of how they can help build a market place for Social Enterprise and their willingness to do so in partnership.
  • Question 6 asked them to rate the importance they placed on needing diversity, accessibility and inclusion within Social Enterprise.
  • Question 7 asked for feedback on the networking opportunity offered by this event.

The attendees were also asked to rate each speaker, again on a scale of 5, where 1 = Nothing New and 5 = Inspirational.
26 evaluation forms were returned from 37 attendees (including 6 speakers), from which the following graphs summarise the feedback given.

These numbers are very similar to our first Unpacking Social Enterprise event run in March 2018 in Winchester.  What the figures show is that there is still a long way to go to build awareness of Social Enterprise, both within communities, in Rotary and a Social Enterprise network.  Feedback said that the event helped those running Social Enterprises deepen their knowledge of other enterprises and that there is a need for Social Enterprise networking, especially as in a recent report by the Middlesex University they found that there were 2,294 Social Enterprises in Hampshire alone.

There is more surety about how, as individuals, they can help build the market place compared to our March event.  There is now over half, compared to a fifth in March, very confident that they are able to do this.  However, taking into account the 2,294 number mentioned above, which is an underestimate, there is a real need to map where these Social Enterprises are and encourage closer collaboration and mutual support.

21 of the 26 evaluation forms returned gave us their emails to receive details on any other events like this that we run and to work with us to help build the market place for Social Enterprises.  In response to this we have other events planned for 2019:

  • Unpacking Social Enterprise in Basingstoke February 2019
  • Unpacking Social Enterprise in Southampton March 2019
  • Unpacking Social Enterprise in Stonehenge April 2019
  • Unpacking Social Enterprise through Coffee & Cake in planning stages, date to be announced shortly

As mentioned at the workshop, please sign up to our directory at https://rotarysocialinnovation.co.uk/social-enterprise-directory/

At our March event we had a specific speaker talking about diversity, accessibility and inclusion, so it had a key focus.  At this latest event the subject was an intrinsic part of each speakers’ presentation, giving such issues to be an important part of how Social Enterprises develop.  We need to reflect, is there a need for a specific presentation to highlight such issues or whether we achieved our goal by the latest approach.

An evaluation of the Speaker ratings is included on the pie chart to the right, but in addition to the summary it is worth noting that 22 out of 26 evaluations rated all the speakers as 5 or 4. Of the remaining 4 forms, some 3s were given, but in some cases with a note that it was because they had heard the speaker recently.  General feedback received on the day was that they liked the fact that each speaker were at a different stage of their development.  What was apparent was that all the speakers generated passion for helping and caring in the community, a good sign of this was the networking at the end and various comments not recorded in this

Other areas that attendees noted they would like to learn more about are:

  • More information on Clinical commissioning groups and social prescribing
  • How is Rotary lobbying Local Authorities for business rates for new businesses or in Enterprise Zones?
  • Would like to be introduced to Social Enterprises in the my local area.
  • How can Rotary understand how to go about locating and supporting Social Enterprises in their communities?
  • Business listing – who is out there and what they are already doing, Hampshire wide
  • Funding, support groups and networks

Other comments were:-

  • Thank you for today, it has been truly inspirational – one of my best events I have attended this year!
  • Super useful networking with so many like minded individuals, helps feel that we are not alone on this journey.
  • Contact details of attendees to have been handed out at the end of the session.
  • Expand the geography and repeat in Southampton, Winchester, Basingstoke, Andover, etc. etc.

Presenters’ Feedback and Evaluation

“I really enjoyed the event and was very encouraged by the enthusiasm and genuine willingness to work together and share the vision of a world run by social entrepreneurs!!  We are seeing in Portsmouth (and elsewhere) a new wave of social entrepreneurs who are energetic and willing to work together to achieve greater impact in their communities.  I believe this is a challenge to the existing sector, which maybe has been influenced in the same way that charities have by the competition for funding, which has put them in competition with each other.  This group of new and aspiring social entrepreneurs understand the value of collaboration and so are far more committed to working together to achieve social and environmental change.  They create energy and a ‘can do’ attitude and support each other in way that is inspirational.”

Sandie Davis, School of Social Enterprise

 “I thought it was a great event, informal but professional, and an interested engaged crowd. There did seem like a real positive vibe in the room and lots of questions and discussion.  Great to raise the profile of social enterprise and what is going on locally in the attendees community.

I had to rush off at 1pm, so not sure how it all panned out, but people were definitely talking to each other when I left, so that’s a good sign.

Well done to everyone involved, great vision, great event.”

Alice McGarvie, From the Harp


  1. Continue to build Rotary’s awareness and how can help further in their communities (see appendix).
  2. Map Social Enterprises by promoting the Social Enterprise Directory https://rotarysocialinnovation.co.uk/social-enterprise-directory/
  3. Develop Social Enterprise networks to help encourage mutual support, collaboration and awareness.
  4. Help promote further Unpacking Social Enterprise events and identify other similar activities eg. pop up markets.
  5. Consider need to develop specific areas for further training for Social Enterprises eg. inclusion, finance, impact assessment monitoring.
  6. Introduce more understanding of Social Enterprises to Local Authority and Clinical Commissioners and vice versa.
  7. Campaign for national Government to make Social Enterprises a priority and part of their business strategy, rather than being in a department that is not relevant.
  8. Building across national and local Government and funding charities, as to how Social Enterprises can help build sustainable communities.

Appendix:  Further Action for Rotary

  1. Buy Social eg.
    1. Alice gives a good suggestion: “I’ve worked in partnership with Bishops Waltham Rotary to take the harps into the local authority care home there. It’s been lovely to have them help me facilitate while I’m there and they have funded it.  I provide them with some outcomes to show the difference they have made in brightening the residents days.  So more partnership working that can benefit and meet the objectives of both the Social Enterprise and Rotary would be good.”
    2. Encourage the Rotary District to book Social Enterprise venues rather than large business commercial.
    3. When organizing an event, think about hiring in a Social Enterprise catering business, which will save you worrying about food safety compliance if you were providing catering yourselves.
    4. There are lots of Social Enterprises offering ideal gifts for presents etc.
  2. Watch Rotary Social Innovation film about the Boston Model, called More Impact (https://rotarysocialinnovation.co.uk/social-innovation/) and consider how we can build funds to help with seed funding.
  3. Help sponsor through Action Hampshire and the School for Social Entrepreneurs as illustrated in the attached leaflet.
  4. Help Social Enterprises in your area build mutual and supportive networks.
  5. Offering business mentoring.
Evaluation and report produced by Owl Excel


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