Prominent social enterprise magazine Pioneers Post has published an article by Stone King Partner Julian Blake and Jonathan Bland, Managing Director of Social Business International, reflecting on the ten years since E3M was founded and what has changed for UK social enterprises delivering public services during that time. 

In 2012, the authors explain:

“Many commissioners and other decision-makers in public authorities had a woeful understanding of social enterprise. Even if they did understand, public procurement was a barrier. Social enterprises searched in vain for appropriate capital, and struggled to access the available social investment.

“This was the landscape as we launched E3M to support the growth and impact of social enterprises running public services to meet local needs. To achieve this, we brought social enterprise leaders, public authority commissioners and social investors and funders together, alongside professional services partners.”

The article outlines E3M’s significant achievements and practical developments, including its Alchemy series of events, of which the pilot programme unlocked more than £12m of social investment for new social enterprise solutions. 

The authors also look ahead and highlight the challenges still facing social enterprises in public services, reflecting that it “feels as though understanding has gone backwards at a policy level. Some public authority leaders believe contracting with social enterprises is riskier than with private sector outsourcing firms”, but adding that times are changing and that “public interest in social enterprise is higher than ever. We see more public and media discussions about market failures in outsourcing. E3M members are transforming their communities.”

Social Business International, oversees the delivery of E3M’s aims and events. Stone King LLP is a core partner of E3M and Julian Blake has been involved with E3M since its inception in 2012.

Read the full article here.