Croydon is set to become the first London borough to win social enterprise place status, in recognition of the number of businesses in the borough that are run for the benefit of the community.
National campaign body Social Enterprise UK is to officially award Croydon with the status at a launch event today.
There are currently 11 towns and cities across the country with social enterprise place status.
Croydon-based social enterprises, which are businesses that trade for a social or environmental purpose, include the Beanies café and crèche, MyOutSpace, Caysh, Mum’s the Chef, and PJs community services.
There are more than 120 registered social enterprise businesses in Croydon with hundreds more operating in the wider voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector.
Well-known examples across the country of social enterprises include The Big Issue, the Eden Project and Jamie Oliver’s restaurant Fifteen.
The Croydon launch will take place in the Community Space at Bernard Weatherill House, Mint Walk, Croydon, from 12.30pm to 3pm.
There will be high profile speakers, networking opportunities, and a question time-style event looking at how the borough can build on its success as a leader in social enterprise activity.
“We are delighted to be awarded social enterprise place status, which recognises the number of businesses in Croydon that reinvest their profits in making a difference by tackling social issues such as improving communities and the environment. It also recognises the council’s determination to grow our social enterprise community.
“Having this status will bring together the council with local businesses and charities so we can work together to build on the hive of social enterprise activity that already exists in Croydon.
“In addition, being part of a national programme allows Croydon to tap into a national network of support and best practice.”
Councillor Toni Letts, cabinet member for economic development
Peter Holbrook, CEO of Social Enterprise UK, said: “As a Social Enterprise Place, Croydon is re-injecting life into local communities across the borough, creating opportunities, local wealth and changing lives for the better.
“Croydon social enterprises are dynamic and showing strong growth -we need to continue to support the sector by buying from social enterprises across Croydon.”
Yuliana Topazly, director of My OutSpace, a Croydon business centre that supports women entrepreneurs, said: “It is great news that Croydon has won social enterprise place status.
“This status will help to create awareness about support available for social enterprises, celebrate the success of the amazing work Croydon-based social enterprises already deliver and provides a reference point for everyone who is interesting in setting up and developing a social enterprise in their own community.
“I believe it will also help to bridge the gap between local authorities and community-based enterprises in Croydon.”