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Businesses with a social conscience valued but often misunderstood by consumers. says research

Melanie May | 22 June 2017 | News

Most consumers prefer to buy from a business with a social conscience but don’t always know how to identify those that have a positive impact in their local community, according to Plymouth-based CIC social enterprise, Iridescent Ideas.
87% state a preference for buying products or services from a business with a social conscience, but four out of five people admit to uncertainty when it comes to identifying such organisations, the research shows.
The definition of a “social enterprise” also causes confusion, according to the research, particularly concerning how these businesses are funded and where profit goes. Almost a third of those surveyed believe that a social enterprise is “not-for-profit”. Survey respondents also said that “not-for-profit can mean different things to different people” and “it’s what you do with the profit that counts”.
The release of the survey findings coincides with the launch of the Iridescent Ideas Social Frontier Project: a series of free online workshops aimed at raising awareness of and supporting start-ups and existing social enterprises across the country. The project is backed by the Big Lottery Fund’s Awards for All grant.
The Social Frontier Project will initially deliver a series of four online workshops, with another four to follow, on the topics of starting, growing, funding and proving the impact of a social enterprise. The first webinar, themed “Start It” is scheduled for Thursday, 20th July 2017. It will cover what a social enterprise is and how to start one, as well as examining income streams and how to create a one-page business plan. Iridescent Ideas will host guest speaker, Sara Burgess, a former regulator of Community Interest Companies, for the first event. More information and registration for the webinars is via the Iridescent Ideas site.
Gareth Hart, founder and director of Iridescent Ideas, said:

“Many people do not know what a social enterprise is, how to identify organisations operating within this sector and what they do with the profit they generate. Our project aims to raise levels of awareness and understanding to address this.”

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