David Floyd runs Social Spider. Much of its work is media related, with a social element to the product and the process, the magazines being written for and by young people.
An example is the One In Four magazine, a mental health magazine which is their flagship product. This is distributed by bulk by clients, often by services users.
David mentioned that in the state of social enterprise survey, Social Spider (which he defined as “my tiny business with six people employed”) was in the top half of all social enterprises in terms of turnover.
He stated that social enterprise can’t tackle youth unemployment, but young people can get out of it by forming their own businesses.
He also noted that forming a business is technically speaking very easy, £20 to register and you get lots of support for doing so.
He accepted the need to work within current capitalist structures and stated that Social Spider has neither corporate masters, nor councils as bosses.
Currently an economy exists whereby lots of people are making money through helping other people write business plans. When looking at people’s business plans the three main questions to ask are can I do it, what’s the point of me doing it and will someone pay me to do it? The most important thing is about asking questions, recognising what we need to find out and who do I need to speak to.
David cited the example of the Future Jobs Fund, with Social Spider about to trial this with one employee. The scheme is aimed at the long term unemployed (16-25). He noted concerns about the possibility of some companies using this for cheap labour.
He also noted within the wider social enterprise frame, a conflict exists between wanting brilliant individuals and other people who don’t fit in the box or who don’t have the clarity or ideas, with a strong focus on brilliant individuals that change the world. Social enterprise also doesn’t focus on moving people into business.
He pointed out the limits of social enterprise, defining what a social enterprise is; is it there as a charity? The terms are not clear. Also what is the role of communities delivering major public services, with increasingly local authorities seeing social enterprises as delivering local services? David believed that social enterprises shouldn’t be delivering public services.
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