We’ve had a busy couple of months running 3 events for social entrepreneurs in East Sussex. As part the Connect Fund project, a partnership with Hastings Voluntary Action, we have so far held two events in Eastbourne and one in Hastings.

It’s been great to see a mix of existing social enterprises, start ups and those who are simply interested and have a good idea for social change. We’ve been really heartened to see the interest from people in the events, which tells us that there is a growing interest in social enterprise and doing business for good.

In Eastbourne and Hastings, the room was buzzing with people swapping contact details and talking about their businesses or ideas. We had an excellent presentation from Jason Nuttall at Crowdfunder UK about how to best structure an effective crowdfunding campaign to capitalise on existing networks and communities of interest, turning potential investors into long term supporters and customers of your business.

We collected feedback on the support people were looking for and emerging themes included funding and finance; governance and legal structures; social media marketing; finding space and venues; strategy and planning.  This helps to inform future funded support, but in the meantime, do talk to us about your support needs as we can offer a range of consultancy and coaching services.

We followed up the meetup event in Eastbourne with what we call a “Solution Session” – a small group of social entrepreneurs coming together to find a way forward for business challenges they face. Feedback from this event was very positive, with participants finding it beneficial to work though their challenges and take suggestions from their peers. Everyone wanted to do it again, so something definitely worked!

Talking of which, we are planning further meetups and Solution Sessions in September, watch this space or even better join the growing facebook community here  https://www.facebook.com/groups/socialenterpriseeastsussex/ to keep up to date and also to share your news with fellow social entrepreneurs.