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Supply side, BEST (Benefiting the Economy and Society Through) Procurement

Activity information


Partners have been working together to help social enterprises improve/increase the value of the public sector contracting they do. This work has been approached from the following angles:

  1. Undertaking supplier development with a wide range of existing social enterprises. Services are offered to social enterprises to: review strategy, develop skills, build relationships and access to information about upcoming contracts.
  2. Working with clusters of existing/emerging social enterprises around particular labour market issues. These include Black, Minority and Ethnic (BME) social enterprises and responding to market opportunities, for example: the National Offender Management Services (NOMS); commissioning plans; GP practice based commissioning.
  3. Direct development of new social enterprises in response to problems or opportunities in the marketplace, e.g. dentistry and opening Social Firm cafés on NHS premises.
  4. Replicating existing social enterprise's success in selling to the public sector, including providing alternative education coupled with youth services, social care services and opening Social Firm cafés on NHS premises.

Partners who deliver services include:

  • Enterprising Solutions Northamptonshire (ESN) - who conduct initial interviews with social enterprises in order to understand whether or not public sector contracting is right for them and what their development needs are.
  • Development Trusts Association (DTA) - who have developed and delivered support programmes dealing with testing business ideas and changing culture and management systems.
  • Leicester Community Action Network (CAN) - who support replication efforts by developing operations manuals.
  • Genesis Enterprise Centre - who are incubating new enterprises and also act as an advisory partner for the programme.
  • Unique Social Enterprise CIC - who are replicating their award winning Coffee Bar model which offers alternative education and youth services to teenagers.
  • The Guild - who undertake contract information searches and upload them on their website: www.nearbuyou.co.uk.
  • Co-operative and Social Enterprise Development Agency (CaSE-da) - who provide support on good employment practice.
  • Voice East Midlands - who work with existing and emerging BME-led social enterprises.
  • Social Firms East Midlands (SFEM) - who work with social firms and create employment opportunities for disabled people.


The social enterprises based in the East Midlands.

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