ESSENCE has been an active network for social enterprises, coops and social businesses in Exeter for nearly five years. For two of those we have been a sub-group of the Chamber of Commerce. We have approximately 25 members across the city and maintain good relationships with other regional networks like Plymouth, Bristol and Bath, Somerset etc.
The current Steering Group is under increasing pressure to maintain the network's activities and without further support and/or resources it will not be possible to continue to run ESSENCE.
On the 28th September 2016 a meeting was convened to discuss the future of ESSENCE and the threat of closure. Interested parties and members attended and through discussion it was decided that an open meeting should be held to engage a wider audience to 're-imagine' what the network could be and how it might be run going forward.
There is growing interest in social enterprise and its potential to support our communities and the local economy. There are many more local organisations out there than ESSENCE currently engages with or appeals to. There are initiatives afoot to help build the social economy in Exeter (and across the South West) and discussions are happening at a local level about the power and potential of collaboration.
Please join us on 1st November 2016 to explore what ESSENCE could be. Bring your brightest ideas, your wildest hopes and your best intentions to help this vital but underappreciated part of our society flourish in Exeter.