Breaking Down the Barriers at Work; Social Entrepreneurs Refuse to See Crisis in the Credit Crunch, and Are Fighting to Put People in Employment:

Article excerpt

Adynamic business support organisation founded in 2003, Social Firms Wales has a remit of creating paid employment for people who are disadvantaged.

Social Firms, now recognised as a viable solution for enabling those traditionally excluded from the labour market, are businesses mixing social values with commercial practices, trading for profit and using that profit to support and benefit a social mission.

A Social Firm will achieve its social business aims by supporting individuals and organisations to create businesses with strong social focuses, businesses that are market led, inclusive, supportive and commercially sustainable in the longer term. Social Firms subscribe to the three core values of Enterprise, Employment and Empowerment.

Whilst these unique social businesses tend to be smaller companies offering a mix of employment, work-based training and opportunities for participation, within an inclusive and supportive commercial environment, they're very much businesses.

And like most businesses across the UK, Social Firms have faced a challenging year.

No one could have predicted the economic climate experienced in 2009 or even where it will take us over the coming months!

Threat or challenge? Well that depends on the opinion and the foresight of the individual and the viability of opportunity.

Faintheartedness is not common among social entrepreneurs.

They tend to be determined and "go getting" people, especially those who have not just a commercial focus, but a strong social remit as well, people who care about people, the planet and business.

A difficult mix to balance, but one that many people successfully work with on a daily basis and many are striving to achieve.

They will not be sitting back and waiting to see what happens next!

They will be in the business environment driving and fighting for business to meet their demanding social objectives; social entrepreneurs are very much "driven" individuals.

Difficult trading conditions can and do create business opportunities for good social entrepreneurs.

They will look at the "downturn" as a good time to start a new business - a crisis too good to waste - and fill gaps left by the closure of larger companies.

They will be looking for opportunities to acquire or merge business ideas or any opportunity where they can see a way to balance the books, and move into profit for the benefit of society.

Are we experiencing a time of real change? Quite definitely. It seems that at last the traits of the greedy fat cat business empires are becoming increasingly exposed and are starting to crumble. …