Women’s Org to help deliver major UK research project

20th August 2020

Liverpool-based The Women’s Organisation is playing a leading role a major research project into how social enterprises can play a critical part the UK’s economic recovery.

Maggie O’Carroll, chief executive of The Women’s Organisation

The Women’s Organisation, an award-winning social enterprise that provides support for fledgling entrepreneurs, is partnering with Enterprise Research Centre (ERC) to deliver the study that will offer insight into driving recovery in areas hardest hit by COVID-19.

ERC is the UK’s leading centre of excellence for research into the growth, innovation and productivity of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Produced by recognised economic experts across the UK and internationally, the research will offer expert insights into how social enterprises can breathe new life into disadvantaged communities.

Research will be delivered in a special series of five State of the Art (SOTA) reviews, tackling individual key themes in relation to social enterprise, such as employment and skills opportunities, diversity and inclusion, and environmental sustainability.

Set to be published in autumn 2020, the SOTA reviews will be launched through an online event and be made readily available for download for policymakers, business-leaders and wider audiences.

SOTA reviews were established by the ERC, which has research bases at both Warwick University Business School and Aston University Business School, in response to a growing demand from policymakers for specialist concise summaries on topical issues within the social economy sector.

The research will draw upon the latest economic evidence, address research gaps, and respond to key policy questions, seeking to provide solutions to the economic, social and environmental problems facing the UK following COVID-19.

Earlier this year, The Women’s Organisation was this year listed in the top 1% of UK social enterprises in the SE100 Index, which is the country’s leading source of market intelligence on social enterprise. It supports would-be and early-stage entrepreneurs through the Liverpool City Region Enterprise Hub.

Chief executive, Maggie O’Carroll, was also named as one of the UK’s most influential people in the social enterprise sector, making the top 10 in Natwest’s WISE100 list as part of the SE100 Index. She said: “The social economy has long been a stalwart in providing opportunities to disadvantaged and vulnerable communities, a demographic that has been hardest hit by the impact of COVID-19.

“This ground-breaking research will highlight the key role that social enterprises can play in rebuilding the economy in a financially sustainable way, whilst also supporting individuals and communities who need it most.

“The Women’s Organisation is committed to supporting a stronger social economy, and we believe now is the time to trust social enterprises to take on the social, economic and environmental challenges currently facing our country.”

Dr Vicki Belt, deputy director of ERC at Warwick University Business School, added: “COVID-19 is having a huge impact on businesses and communities across the country. As we look to recovery, social enterprises – which have been a real success story in recent years – have the potential to play a key role.

“We launched our SOTA review series in response to the growing demand from policymakers for concise summaries of knowledge on topical issues in enterprise research. There are now over 40 reviews in the series. This new set of five reviews will fill several important knowledge gaps.

“Social enterprises generate huge value to the UK, and are often based within some of the most disadvantaged communities, employing some of the most vulnerable people in society.”

Visit thewomensorganisation.org.uk

20th August 2020