Community of Practice in the Social Enterprise Sector

Two women talking with brush stroke graphics and many logos of organisations part of the CLG

This guest post is from Leyla Okhai, the Collective Leadership Group Lead (hosted at Hatch Enterprise).

Established in 2020, the Collective Leadership Group (CLG) is a group of around 60 organisations that work in the UK’s social enterprise sector. Building capacity by developing and strengthening the skills and resources that social enterprises need to survive, adapt, and thrive in this fast-changing world.

The group provides a forum to share, learn and collaborate with each other. With the aim of building more coherent services, increasing representation and diversity, and building deeper impact.

What is a Community of Practice?

A community of practice can be summarised as:

A group of people who share a common concern, a set of problems, or an interest in a topic and who come together to fulfil both individual and group goals.

Cognitive anthropologists Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger coined the term community of practice when studying apprenticeships as a learning model. The term referred to the community that acts as a living curriculum.

Communities of practice will focus on sharing the best way to do things and create new knowledge to advance professional know-how. Regular interaction is an important part of building connections and trust.

The CLG offers a space to explore what’s working well, what could be improved and pitfalls. It contributes to the transformative work already taking place across the sector in a personalised way.

Why is a Community of Practice needed?

The social support sector has grown organically over time. Supporting social enterprises and civil society groups has never been more important.

Sadly, social enterprises continually face increased uncertainty and challenging market conditions. From rising prices, an unpredictable funding landscape and juggling work and life responsibilities.

A group stood talking at an event

Meanwhile, demand for the services these vital organisations provide continues to grow. Capacity building plays a vital part in aiding leaders of social enterprises, community, and voluntary organisations to build their capacity and navigate these current challenges.

Whilst there are numerous organisations supporting social leadership and social enterprise development, the collective offerings have been siloed. Often confusing to navigate, and inaccessible for societally marginalised leaders.

This sector must build its own resilience, broaden its reach, and coordinate its responses. There is no better way to do this than provide a space for like minded people to come together to find innovative solutions through conversations.

What’s next?

We aspire to build a self-sustaining community dedicated to increasing the accessibility and quality of the support we offer to social impact leaders.

This includes:

  • Expanding our membership thus deepening the opportunities for shared learning.
  • Sharing insights and what works.
  • Looking at benchmarking and impactful data.
  • Mapping the provision and gaps of support.
  • Building relationships that enable strategic partnerships and collective voice.

Want to join us?

If you are part of an organisation that supports social entrepreneurship, with a focus on programme development. Then please join us!

What you will have access to:

  • We have a diary of regular events throughout the year shaped by members’ needs to support them in their work.
  • An online platform where members connect, ask questions and share resources between events.
  • A regularly fortnightly newsletter with relevant reports and information tailored to the sector.
  • A strategy group that works on focused projects.
  • The best thing- it’s free to join and participate in!

Get in Touch

If you are interested in being a member complete this quick form

Or get in touch directly: Leyla Okhai, CLG Lead hosted at Hatch Enterprise – leyla.o@hatchenterprise.org

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