VitalSpark: Coalition Blog

Posted: 30 April 2010, in Blog

Greetings from sunny California where somehow UK social enterprise is ahead of the game – baseball or football- who cares, we’re winning guys! Except…first impressions sees an appetite from the private sector to invest cash and  in kind while we haven’t scratched the surface. The P word is big here. Philanthropy. They can spell it too. From mom and pop stores to the big corporations – they put out. Social enterprises are tapping into this big time because the tax dollars are not something they can rely on. As for the public sector, in the World Social Enterprise Forum  opening plenary Kathleen Martinez Assistant Secretary for disability employment policy US Department of Labor tells us there is ‘growing interest in the concept of social enterprise in the White House’.’Right time to strike!’ Go girl! I imagine Michelle Obama turning up at the amazing Delancey St. Project here in San Francisco where 500 former drug addicts and ex prisoners work in a cafe, car body shop and removal business. Inspiring stuff. Tony Blair got there first years ago when trawling for ideas.  But heh, politics US style is discovering social enterprise. Just beginning . Can they tap into the anti Goldman Sachs feeling on Main St which is galvanising the politicians in Washington? It’s a big american adventure. We feel like pioneers in San Francisco. Whether it turns out to be  a gold rush remains to be seen but we’re fired up! We punch the air! This is America! At the opening exhibition I am on my exhibition stand talking about working with politicans and selling the message. “Heh you’re a live wire lady, do you think you could sell social enterprise to Sarah Palin?”  A nice woman from Alaska asks me. Seriously.  Let no one ever say Swinson shirks a challenge. How hard can it be? So hot news. The Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition cordially invites Sarah Palin to visit a social enterprise….though we have to be honest, in Scotland we have more grouse than moose.