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We produce the Firestarters podcast which is the world's first podcast for social enterprises in health. These will build into a library of discussions, presentations, interviews agood old-fashioned rows about all aspects of setting up, growing and developing social enterprises in health.

If you are new to podcasts, you might find our guide to downloading and listening to podcasts helpful.

The latest 5 podcasts (10 to 14) cover a recent course on "Creating a nurse-led social enterprises in health" and the 5-parts together make up a 3-hour audio programme on how to set up a nurse-led social enterprise.

Part 1 of "Creating a nurse-led social enterprise in health" (Podcast 10) covers:

  • What is a social enterprise?
  • Definitions of social enterprise and how it is different from the public and private sector
  • What is your underlying business model?
  • The difference between corporate social responsibility and social enterprise
  • Finding profitable areas to work in
  • Are social enterprises competing unfairly with the private sector?
  • Will the NHS support a long-term profit-based model?
  • The problem with being commissioned by only one organisation (monopsony)
  • The economics of fair trade and social enterprises
  • How do you measure your social good?

This can be downloaded here (35 Mb)

Part 2 of "Creating a nurse-led social enterprise in health" (Podcast 11) covers:

  • Pros and cons of different legal structures of social enterprises
  • Setting up a company can be quick an easy
  • Guide to Community Interest Companies and asset locks
  • The key difference between "limited by shares" and "limited by guarantee"
  • How equity investment works and why it won't work with some company structures
  • There is no perfect model and how to judge your legal adviser
  • How to judge a business advisor
  • Why most directors get struck off

This can be downloaded here (31 Mb)

Part 3 of "Creating a nurse-led social enterprise in health" (Podcast 12) covers:

  • Who has the power and control on your social enterprise?
  • How many directors should you start with?
  • How members can overturn the decisions of the directors and even remove them - the "Doris the Cleaner" effect
  • Why founders are sometimes sacked from their own board
  • Who do you want to be accountable to?
  • The interesting clauses in Entreprenurses CIC - the "nuclear button"
  • Fundraising is much much easier as a registered charity (and Dave's 204 rejection letters)
  • Why social enterprises fail (and 50% of them do in the first 4 years)
  • The main reasons that social enterprises fail are:
    • Cashflow,
    • Tax and VAT issues,
    • Too low profit margins,
    • Keeping unproductive employees and
    • Market shifts
  • Why cashflow is the number 1 cause of social enterprise failure
  • Why you need to choose your bank manager very carefully
  • The most common tax mistakes businesses make
  • What social firms are
  • Why most business plans are a load of tosh
  • The best plans are created between the 1st pint and the 7th pint
  • The barstool test for your mission statement

This can be downloaded here(33 Mb)

Part 4 of "Creating a nurse-led social enterprise in health" (Podcast 13) covers:

  • Introduction to marketing
  • Why marketing isn't just advertising and public relations
  • How to work out your start-up capital from your market information
  • How to pick your co-founders and why they need to be as dedicated to the business as you
  • The Napkin Business Plan:
    • a) What is it you will do?
    • b) What is the market and demand?
    • c) Who are your competitors?
    • d) What is your pricing?
    • e) How much will you make?
    • f) How much will it cost?
    • g) Who is your founding team?
    • h) How much start up capital do you need?
  • It is rare to set up a social enterprise without using 1 or 2 as start-up funding
  • If you run a social enterprise you risk losing your house
  • Why your house is still at risk even with a company limited by shares or guarantees
  • Why you will almost certainly need to personally guarantee any business loans or overdrafts
  • Sources of start-up funding (from easiest to hardest to get):
    • 1) Your money (savings or personal loan)
    • 2) Borrowing from friends and family
    • 3) Banks (overdrafts and loans)
    • 4) Grants
    • 5) Equity
  • It is rare to set up a social enterprise without using 1 or 2 as start-up funding
  • Dealing with £95,000 of personal debt
  • There isn't a risk-free way of keeping your house whether you are an entrepreneur or not
  • Dealing with fear and guilt
  • Why you want to be very very fussy about who your bank manager is
  • The smaller you start your social enterprise, the easier it is to raise money and the easier it is to learn quickly from mistakes.

This can be downloaded here(21 Mb)

Part 5 of "Creating a nurse-led social enterprise in health" (Podcast 14) covers:

  • Money is important but it isn't worth focussing all your attention on
  • If you plan carefully, you can have a business collapse and keep your house and start a new social enterprise
  • The fear and the risk is manageable and you get the chance to save the world
  • Getting in touch with real quality of life
  • For some people the risk is so great they are too afraid to make the leap
  • Explaining the change and innovation curve:
    • a) Innovators (about 2.5%)
    • b) Early adopters (about 10%)
    • c) Early majority (about 37%)
    • d) Late majority (about 37%)
    • e) Laggards (about 12.5%)
  • Your first paying clients will be innovators and you should market to them through personal contact
  • You move to early adopters through their contacts with innovators and by proving that your service works
  • You shouldn't use mass media or traditional advertising until you are at the early majority stage
  • There are lots of potential NHS commissioners - much more than just your local PCT
  • You need to be careful when you are planning your escape

This can be downloaded here(33 Mb)

The following books were recommended as part of the programme:

1) "The Beermat Entrepreneur" - Mike Southon and Chris West
An excellent book on creating your first enterprise. Very practical and takes you right from "pre-start up" to when it is time to leave as one of the founders. If you only get one book, I would get this one although there is nothing in it specifically for social entrepreneurs.

2) "From initiative to independence: a guide for nurse entrepreneurs" - Royal College of Nursing
Written very much from a nursing perspective, this provides a lot of useful tips and info although nothing specific for social entrepreneurs.

3) "Tendering for Public Sector Contracts" (2nd edition) - Forth Sector Development
A very practical book about how public sector commissioning works and how to go about securing these.

4) "A business planning guide to developing a social enterprise" - Forth Sector Development
There are a lot of books on business planning but I particularly like this one as it is geared up to social enterprises, is very accessible and is written and illustrated in a fun way. The content is great too.

5) "Healthy business - a guide to social enterprises in health and social care" - Social Enterprise Coalition
This book is really a collection of case studies of health and social care social enterprises but ut gives a good overview as to the different types and sizes of social enterprises and shows some of what is already out there.

6) "Awareness and Influence in Health and Social Care" - Rosemary Cook
This book has a very strong nursing focus and provides a theoretical and practical framework to raising your profile, developing effective networks and increasing your personal influence.

7) The Jelly Effect" - Andy Bounds
This is THE definitive book on how to present yourself and your ideas in formal and informal settings. It is the best book I have ever come across on networking and presenting for contracts.

8) "Getting things done" - David Allen
This is THE definitive book on personal productivity. Setting up a social enterprise is going to involve a huge amount of work and massive pressure on your time and this book and its associated processes (GTD to us enthusiasts) will enable you to achieve more, not get stressed and actually maintain a sane and healthy personal life.

9) "Getting started in consulting" - Alan Weiss
This may seem an odd book but Weiss' model on "selling outcomes rather than processes" is extremely useful. Most of the contracts I have won over the last 5 years have been by using this approach which is spelled out in Chapters 7, 8 and 9.

Podcast 14 - This can be downloaded here (33 Mb)

Podcast 13 - This can be downloaded here (21 Mb)

Podcast 12 - This can be downloaded here (33 Mb)

Podcast 11 - This can be downloaded here (31 Mb)

Podcast 10 - This can be downloaded here (35 Mb)

Podcast 9 - This can be downloaded here (35 Mb)

Podcast 8 - This can be downloaded here (23 Mb)

Podcast 7 - This can be downloaded here (23 Mb)

Podcast 6 - This can be downloaded here (23 Mb)

Podcast 5 - This can be downloaded here (27 Mb)

Podcast 4 - This can be downloaded here (23 Mb)

Podcast 3 - This can be downloaded here (36 Mb)

Podcast 2 - This can be downloaded here (40 Mb)

Podcast 1 - This can be downloaded here (23 Mb)


The purpose of life is not to be happy. The purpose of life is to matter, to be productive, to have it make some difference that you lived at all.

Arthur H. Prince

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