In the New Year Bristol will be crowned European Green Capital, so now is a good time to start thinking about what this means and how you can get involved.
Within the student community awareness of the need to act to create change is apparent. So too is opportunity to action, with curricular and extra-curricular opportunities to engage in across a broad scope of fields. There may, however, be a gap in thinking about the type of action that is most needed to achieve sustainable goals.
Recently, Basecamp participated in the Emerge Conference, run by Said Business School Oxford. We learnt a lot. The conference focused on social enterprise and ways in which it is reaching out across the world to create profitable sustainability. This may sound like an oxymoron, but it’s not. Social enterprise refers to businesses that trade with a mind to social purpose and divert some of their profits into sustainability action, within their company or outside it. The magic of this kind of business is that it makes good impact financially attractive and thus proves itself as a key catalyst to a better future.
As well as taking the Green Capital title, Bristol is also a Social Enterprise City. This is a perfect set up for real change that not only grabs the volunteers but also the big financial investors interested in a mostly economic bottom line. This kind of action is one that provides a solution to the current problems of value assessment in only monetary terms and gives economic return as well as sustainable change. Believe it or not social enterprise growth is currently outdoing more conventional shareholder models.
Getting involved with the European Green Capital initiative is a great way to enhance your CV and will evidence your interest in this area. Additionally, taking part in social enterprise related activity will develop your commercial awareness which is a key skill that employers look for. It will also develop your understanding of the commercial world should you wish to start your own social enterprise in the future.
So if you think of yourself as a budding businessman, an entrepreneur, a volunteer, an environmentally minded person or a change-maker, then you should think about social enterprise. Never before have these kinds of people been able to join together and achieve all their aims simultaneously. Green Capital 2015 is a chance for you to inform yourself, join in from whatever perspective grabs you, and become a change-maker through social enterprise.
Written by Molly Bishop, Enterprise Consultant at Basecamp
& Jenny Green, Bristol PLUS Award Coordinator