SOCIAL ENTERPRISE NEWS
In our latest Social Enterprise Spotlight is Ingrid Webb and COPE Ltd, a Shetland-based social enterprise and charity which provides employment and skills development for adults with disabilities. Get in touch with Ingrid on 01595 696889 / firstname.lastname@example.org and check out www.cope.ltd.uk Connect with them on Twitter too.
Every few weeks we focus on a randomly selected social enterprise member for intense marketing support and promotion. COPE Ltd will feature in all e-bulletins, on our website homepage and on all our social media, alongside other support, reaching thousands of people across Scotland and beyond. Want to star in the Spotlight? Email email@example.com
What’s your social and/or environmental mission? COPE Ltd has a strong social purpose supporting the development of employment skills for people with learning disabilities. We believe that everyone regardless of disability should have the opportunity to work if they so wish. We support the belief that given the right conditions, all adults have the potential to contribute to the economy and in doing so will learn to value themselves and others.
How do you do it? COPE Ltd provides employment and skill development for people with a learning disability by selling goods and services through a number of enterprises. Probably the most well-known of these are The Shetland Soap Company and Orkney Soap where we create an exclusive range of handmade soap products. We also have The Shetland Home Co, where we support re use and recycling of household items, The Shetland Garden Co, a popular garden centre and The Shetland Kitchen Co where we produce a variety of great food every day.What’s your personal motivation for being a social entrepreneur? More than anything I believe that people who have learning disabilities can be really valuable members of our community. My aim is to promote a legacy of empowerment for people with disabilities that promotes social inclusion within the wider community from a vibrant enterprise culture.
What are your current projects? We are having the roof replaced on the Shetland Soap Company. This forms an important part of our investment in the Shetland Soap Company and once completed it will help allow future growth in the business. This may not seem like a big deal however we are attempting to do this before Christmas. As you may know, Shetland is well known for its windy weather, so if you look up one day and think you see Dorothy’s house from the Wizard of Oz flying around it’s not, it’s probably us!What exciting things do you have coming up? We are delighted to have been shortlisted in the Social Enterprise Awards Scotland 2015 and will be travelling down to Edinburgh in November to attend the Awards ceremony. Being shortlisted represents a great success for us and we’re delighted to have been shortlisted with some excellent social enterprises and passionate people. Secondly, we’re working on the development of new markets on the UK mainland and further afield for the Shetland Soap Company. We’ll keep you posted.
Who do you want to work with more? We love finding collaborative projects with other businesses. We enjoy the opportunities this provides and the learning that can be achieved. We’re currently in early talks with an ambitious local company producing fantastic products and looking at ways in which we can work together. This is turn may assist us to provide more employment opportunities for people with disabilities whilst also providing opportunities to develop markets within the UK mainland and abroad. Watch this space.
What’s your biggest challenge? Not having a crystal ball! Working in social enterprise always means you must to look to the future. You need to ask yourself difficult questions about your ongoing sustainability and growth, then, come up with the answers, take good decisions regarding the use of resources, and most importantly maintain your social purpose. It’s all very challenging but, as I say, it’s predictably unpredictable. That’s why I think we all love social enterprise as much as we do. Right?
What top tip would you give to other social enterprises? Find like-minded people, develop a good team, learn from each other, be resilient, don’t be afraid of change, always remember your social purpose, build strong connections with others to develop and grow, and most importantly of all, show good leadership.
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