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E3M Local Alchemy Coventry

Date: 24.11.17 Event Date: 20.11.2017 |Categories: Uncategorised

E3M Alchemy Coventry: a room full of social enterprise, social investment and CCC collaboration

E3M Alchemy Coventry: the challenges were hard but collaboration was convivial

On the 20th and 21st November we ran E3M Alchemy, a placed-based innovation event in Coventry. A mixed group of 33 E3M Social Enterprise Leaders, Bold Commissioners, funders and partners joined with a similar number of council commissioners and other local stakeholders, including Coventry University, to explore new ways to tackle some local challenges affecting the city.

Our aim with Alchemy is to open up new opportunities for social enterprise solutions that can operate at scale and that build on local strengths. Coventry City Council’s CEO, Martin Reeves, has a clear vision that we need new ways of doing things and is keen to explore a greater role for social enterprise.

The event built on the E3M Alchemy we ran in London in September 2016, but this time ran over 24 hours and focused on the challenges of a real place. The Council identified four challenges for the event: 16/17 year olds facing homelessness; carers and adults with disabilities facing barriers to employment; families in inappropriate accommodation, and the general supply of housing.

During the 24 hours, participants worked together in mixed groups and went through a seven-step process to explore the problems and come up with possible ideas for solutions to tackle them. The event was expertly facilitated by colleagues from the E3M Core Partners, Bate Wells Braithwaite and Numbers for Good, with support from Zurich, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Big Society Capital, who helped the eight different working groups to explore a range of issues.

The groups produced some really exciting ideas, including a new enterprise to support carers, some different approaches to the way commissioning might take place and the use of social investment to support a transformational restructuring of the way certain services could be organised.

Over the next few weeks we will take stock and explore how we might be able to support Coventry in moving some of the ideas forward. We are also looking at taking E3M Local Alchemy to other parts of the country to encourage place-based social enterprise innovation.