Andy Burnham calls for Greater Manchester to become the “new capital” of social enterprise

Date published: 16 December 2019

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, outlined a bold vision for the future of Greater Manchester in a speech to over 400 business leaders in London on Wednesday 4 December.

Mr Burnham was the keynote speaker at the UK Social Enterprise Awards 2019, an annual event to celebrate the achievement of social enterprises from across the UK where he spoke to entrepreneurs, business leaders and social enterprises about his analysis of current political and economic circumstances.

Social enterprises are businesses which have a legal commitment to achieving a positive social and environmental mission as well as delivering a profit. The majority of any profit that they do make must be reinvested either back into the business to deliver their mission or given to another organisation to achieve that mission.

The UK is a world leader in social enterprise and has one of the largest social enterprise sectors in the world in terms of size and scale.

Addressing attendees, Mr Burnham said that “business as usual, anything as usual, isn’t working anymore. We need to pass power down to people and our communities. We need to empower our regions.”

In Greater Manchester, Mr Burnham pointed to the creation of a new social enterprise advisory board, led by social entrepreneur and chief executive of Sharp Futures, Rose Marley.

He said that the advisory board would explore “how we can put the wind in the sails” of social enterprise and called on social enterprises in Greater Manchester to reach out if they wanted to get involved.

He also referred to frequent mentions of social enterprise in GM’s Local Industrial Strategy, reforms to social value in procurement and the Good Employment Charter as examples of initiatives to support the growth of social enterprise within the region.

“We are always looking to the new in Manchester”, concluded Mr Burnham, “and social enterprises are the future.” He ended by calling on Greater Manchester to become the new 'capital of social enterprise' asking social entrepreneurs to come to the region to make this vision a reality.

Commenting on the speech, Lord Victor Adebowale CBE, Chair of Social Enterprise UK said: “Leaders who are close to the communities that they serve, like Andy, can see the need for a new direction. Business as usual isn’t working. It isn’t creating the high-quality jobs and innovation we need to build a brighter future for the next generation.”

“We need to empower mayors so that they can create the right conditions for social enterprises to flourish like Andy is trying to achieve in Greater Manchester. This region was the heart of Industrial Revolution; it can now be at the heart of a new Business Revolution.” ​​

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