CAG Oxfordshire & Makespace to become support hub in new social enterprise programme

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eScalate, the newest programme from OxLEP Business, is creating 6 ‘hubs’ to nurture social entrepreneurship across the county.

CAG Oxfordshire and Makespace, are excited to be one of six prominent Oxfordshire organisations appointed as social enterprise ‘hubs’ to provide support for other community and socially motivated businesses. We will be playing a key role in delivering a new programme, eScalate which is designed to help social enterprises including social entrepreneurs, enterprising charities and other businesses with a commitment to making a positive social and environmental impact. Our hub will have a specific focus on co-operatives and social enterprises owned by workers and the local community.

For us social enterprises play a key role in building a more equal, democratic and sustainable economy in Oxfordshire. Helen Brind of OxLEP Business, which is managing eScalate, said: “More and more businesses in this sector are creating jobs and contributing to the success of Oxfordshire as a place to live and work. We need to make sure that they have access to the opportunities and gain the skills they require to succeed. We want to build their capacity and increase the opportunities available to them.”

The other social enterprise hubs include:

  • Tap Social, West Oxford
  • Oxford Hub, Oxford city centre
  • Aspire at Flo’s – The Place in the Park, East Oxford
  • SOFEA, Didcot
  • Town Square, Eco Business Centre, Bicester

As Hubs we will host events, activities and provide support. This will all be coordinated and delivered in partnership with OSEP – the Oxfordshire Social Enterprise Partnership.

Leading advocate for community enterprise, Grant Hayward of OSEP CIC, said: “Establishing this network of Hubs is vital for delivering support and building capacity within local communities. All of them are great examples of thriving organisations, providing and promoting social and environmental impact. Over the next 2 years they will host workshops, networking events and peer-to-peer learning sessions. These hubs will help these socially oriented, purposeful businesses to learn new skills, forge partnerships and increase their impact.”

During February, each of the Hubs will be launching within their own areas. Our launch event will take place on 25th of February from 6-8pm at Makespace, sign up for your free ticket here. This will be a great opportunity for you to come along and find out more about the programme and the support we may be able to offer you as an individual, charity or business wanting to become a social enterprise.

The first workshops begin in March and will cover subjects ranging from the inclusive economy, social impact measurement and how to pitch for funding. Each Hub will also host a peer support group, where socially minded entrepreneurs will be able to meet at regular intervals to share their challenges and achievements.

For more information about the support available through the eScalate programme, including workshops, visit the website here.