Small Business Saturday

Open-1184x803It’s great to see our local small businesses being promoted. The more that we all use them, the more vibrant our high streets are. One of the initiatives is ‘Small Business Saturday’. This year it falls on 1st December. If you are a small business, a customer, a local authority or a network, you can get involved.


November Natters


We’re hosting a few Social enterprise chat sessions at Exeter Co-Lab, Wat Tyler Street, Exeter. It’s for anyone who is interested or involved in social enterprises to come along and ask questions, have a chat and meet other like-minded folk.

Friday 18th November, 11 – 12pm.
Friday 25th November, 11 – 12pm.

If you are already developing or running a social enterprise, then get involved with the #whoknew campaign by Social Enterprise UK. We can tell you more about it when we meet, or have a look online. A great awareness raising opportunity for your business.

Gearing up for Growth with ESSENCE and ESBN

gearing for growth presenters

Our thanks go to the presenters who ran workshops at this morning’s event organised by Exeter Sustainable Business Network and ESSENCE (Social Enterprise Network) at St James’s Park – home to Exeter City Supporters’ Trust on of our Social Enterprise Members.  Missing from this shot is Alastair Banks from Optix Solutions who ran a great session on marketing.  You can see him in the post on here!

Event: Forum for New Local Economies

You may want to join other activists, organisers, and changemakers from across Devon for a special event. Please put this in your diary – Devon Convergence: Forum for New Local Economies – February 7th, 9:30-4:30, Exeter.

With austerity kicking in, we’re facing a critical crossroads, but also a massive opportunity to lead progressive change right here in Devon. There are exciting community-led economic solutions emerging across the region, as well as effective strategies, innovative projects, and energetic collaborators. I’m inviting you to join us and see where it might lead and what new opportunities present themselves for supporting your work – our work, and because together we are more powerful. This event could be the turning point. Continue reading “Event: Forum for New Local Economies”


ESSENCE, Exeter & the RSA: South West’s Social Economy – Ideas into Action

Wednesday 3 Dec 2014, 6.00pm – 9pm
Devon and Exeter Institute, 7 Cathedral Close, Exeter, EX1 1EZ

The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) is a 21st century enlightenment organisation committed to finding innovative and creative practical solutions to today’s social challenges. Through its ideas, research and 27,000-strong Fellowship it seeks to harness the extraordinary amount of untapped creative potential in society – by empowering people to be active participants in creating a better world.

With social enterprise at the core of the RSA South West’s development strategy for the next two years Ed Whitelaw, the Regional Chair, will talk about the growth of the social economy, partnership working with Plymouth Social Enterprise Network the current work of the RSA and what this might mean for our region over the next two years.

In partnership with ESSENCE as they build a campaign to establish Exeter as a ‘Social Enterprise City’, this joint networking event is open to Fellows, ESSENCE members and friends. 

For info, click here. For any questions and to reserve your free place, please email Saxon Spence,

Exeter Business Support – Important Changes

Lorna and Debbie have really enjoyed working as part of the Exeter Business Support Team for the past 4 years, supporting hundreds of start-up and existing social enterprises and co-operatives here in our home City.  However, our contract may be ending at the end of June due to budget reductions at Exeter City Council.

From July forward social enterprises and co-ops will continue to access support through the Exeter Business Support team through Phil Deem who is a very experienced Business Adviser.  The Fruit Tree for Business will still be able to provide a quotation for support to those who require our specialist expertise.

Make the Most of your Marketing – ESSENCE meeting 27 March 3.30pm!

Social Enterprise and Co-operatives group ESSENCE are meeting at The Generator at 11-15 Dix’s Field from 3.30 pm – 5.30 pm on Thursday 27th March. ‘Make the Most of your Marketing’ This meeting is focusing on getting the most out of your marketing on a small budget. There’s a hand-on ‘Writing Desk’ to support you develop your marketing in the session, to learn how both the Chamber and ESSENCE can support your organisation and to get the top tips and tools. This is a chance to share your expertise, learn from more experienced marketeers and support the growth of our local social enterprises and co-ops. So come along to catch-up and network with the group, find out about how to improve your marketing and benefit from the collective wisdom of our local entrepreneurs. To book on to this meeting please login to the website or email Please note that there is priority booking for ESSENCE members and social enterprises/ co-operatives.