Developing a social enterprise hive for London

The rationale and ambition

Social Enterprise UK has had a long-held ambition to acquire a building that can help bring the concept of social enterprise to life for members of the public, potential supporters and our broader range of stakeholders.

We are frequently approached by our members who routinely seek help and guidance when needing to relocate offices and / or production facilities in, around and across London’s turbulent property market; rental prices can be high, security of tenure short term, and inflexibility of workspace restrictive to growth and further impact.

We know there is an appetite for organisations to co-locate alongside others who share their values of enterprise and collaboration and are yet dynamic, entrepreneurial and social in their nature.

Beyond the grant funding origins of SEUK, the organisation has successfully maintained a strong and reliable revenue position and profile. Despite these achievements our balance sheet remains modest and does not reflect the size of our ambition or of our ongoing impact.

To provide both better organisational resilience for SEUK and greater impact and benefit to our members, we are seeking to acquire a mixed-use facility which on a flexible sub-letting basis will enable social enterprises to occupy a range of office options, light industrial units, maker spaces, co - working spaces and build a conducive environment and culture that will further partnership opportunities for collaboration and the cross-pollination of ideas. The supply chain opportunities for the building would be continually used and revised to help scale and grow social enterprises with whom we would work.

The building will provide incubation opportunities to early stage start-ups and help develop socially enterprising ideas from within local communities. Drawing on the experience, knowledge and resources of more well developed social enterprises that are based in the building, the hive will provide an environment to catalyse existing ideas, support organisational growth and stimulate and nurture new thinking. It will contain a public space operating as a café or restaurant for people to eat, drink, experience and learn about social enterprises providing inspiration from all around the UK and the world. It will showcase the very best of the UK sector and provide a London base for London’s social enterprise community.

Social Enterprise UK is looking at acquire a freehold or 125yr leasehold on a mixed-use building in either zone 1 or 2 of London within a 30-min journey time of central London where much of our influencing and campaigning work is conducted. We have a strong demand for businesses to relocate part or all their businesses with us.  Subject to a satisfactory location being acquired it is anticipated that whatever the size of building, demand will outstrip supply.

We anticipate that a footprint of between 35,000 and 45,000 sq ft would be an ideal acquisition.

 

Join the hive!

If you are interested in finding out more about the hive, either as a potential resident, investor or partner then please contact Sarah.Burns@socialenterprise.org.uk