Pitch perfect social enterprises matched with major corporates seeking to develop social and environmental impact

27/09/2023
Kieran Daly (SIS)

SOCIAL enterprises from across Scotland will master the art of pitching before meeting with procurement leads from a number of major corporates and public bodies seeking to develop their social and environmental impact, through a new matchmaking initiative by Social Investment Scotland (SIS) and Social Enterprise Scotland.

The Buy Social ‘Purchase Power’ programme is the latest offering from Buy Social Scotland, with participants matching up with purchasers  from several organisations such as Wates Group, abrdn, Historic Environment Scotland, Assembly Festival and eBay. This will open up access to commercial opportunities for them to win contracts to supply contracts and services.

Throughout the programme, aspiring social entrepreneurs will also have the chance to hear from a number of high-profile entrepreneurs including former ‘choco evangelist’ at Dutch impact brand Tony’s Chocolonely, Ynzo van Zanten .

Social enterprises with products, services or experiences to sell are being invited to join the free initiative, with the first of three monthly workshops kicking off on 15th November. The programme culminates with a final bootcamp and day of matchmaking with buyers in February 2024.

Throughout the coaching sessions, social enterprise leaders will get support from a range of experts to help them grow and develop their offerings including guidance on pitching and winning contracts and refining their products and services for different markets.  

Kieran Daly, head of market building at Social Investment Scotland, said: “Purchase Power is designed to support social enterprises in supplying their products and services within public and private sector supply chains. Social enterprises such as Social Print and Copy CIC are impeding social and environmental impact within both public and private sector supply chains, winning large contracts with CannonUK and Ireland, and also being listed on Scottish Goverments procurement framework. We believe that the opportunities for social enterprises to influence both public and private sector supply chains is vast, enabling better business practices and enabling them to reach their Environmental and Social and Governance aims.”

Chris Martin, CEO of Social Enterprise Scotland, said: “We are delighted to be working with SIS to launch Buy Social Purchase Power. This is a great opportunity for social enterprises to polish their pitches and learn from established businesses in order to secure supply chain opportunities.  We believe that business can be a force for good and these businesses understand that to achieve greater social and environmental impact, they can partner with our social enterprises supporting them to grow and continue to drive positive chance across communities in Scotland, building a fairer, more sustainable economy.”

The programme builds on SIS’s Retail Bootcamp initiative which took place earlier this year and enabled social enterprise Pride Outside to secure new high-value training contracts.

Lou Beardsmore, Founder of Pride Outside, said: “Learning from incredible international entrepreneurs completely changed the way we understood our own social enterprise. It inspired us to start pitching for much bigger pieces of work and we secured two five-figure contracts just one month after completing the programme. The most significant impact was the change in our mindset, as we started seeing the possibility of creating change globally, as well as locally, and it highlighted the real potential for growth.”

Sam Donaldson, Chief Procurement Officer, abrdn said: “Social enterprises have an important role to play in corporate value chains. By engaging social enterprises corporations can benefit local communities and include marginalised groups helping them achieve their business and social impact goals. That is why at abrdn we are committed to creating opportunities for social enterprises within our supply chain and we encourage social enterprises to engage with corporations when opportunities emerge.”

Su Pickerill, Head of Social Value, Wates Group said: “Buying Social is a brilliant and easy way to deliver greater impact with procurement spend. It is a privilege to engage with fantastic businesses that are making a difference in society and explore opportunities to bring them into Wates Group’s supply chain. For example, Grace chocolates support female offenders to turn their lives around through the medium of chocolate. I am proud to support Social Enterprises to scale.”

To apply for a place on the programme, visit: https://www.buysocialscotland.com/business/purchase-power

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