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New Welsh Consultancy Service Set to Support Supply Chains

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A new commercial consultancy service has launched to help businesses meet the social value requirements when bidding for large public sector contracts or investment.

Social Business Connect from the Wales Co-operative Centre has been designed in consultation with the public and private sector, to support organisations in the development of their supply chains in order to trade with the social business sector.

Rhian Edwards, lead consultant for Social Business Connect, believes there is a real willingness from organisations in Wales to be more inclusive but there are still barriers which are preventing them looking beyond the traditional routes of procurement.

“The social business sector is the strongest and most diverse it’s ever been in this country, worth an estimated £2.4bn to the Welsh economy. However, there is still a perception that social businesses can’t deliver on the outputs required of these major public sector contracts. As the lead development agency for social businesses in Wales since 1982, we know this is a myth that needs to be put firmly to bed.

“Social businesses reinvest the money they make back into their social or environmental cause, so they not only strengthen an organisation’s CSR credentials when bidding for major contracts but they help them meet the social value requirements of important policy and legislation, like the Well-being of Future Generation’s Wales Act.

Social Business Connect from the Wales Co-operative Centre is a five phased consultancy approach tailored to the organisation; from setting up introductory meetings to managing the entire project.

Edwards added:

“With the Wales Co-operative Centre’s unrivalled access and in-depth knowledge of the social business sector, it puts us in the perfect position to facilitate this trading relationship. If this unique consultancy service takes off as we expect it to, we have a real opportunity to increase the social and environmental impact of procurement and scale up the social business sector in Wales.”

Antonia John, Business Development and Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Encon Construction UK, said:

“While we are pleased with the positive social impact we are having within the communities we operate, the benefits would be even greater if we increased our trading relationship with social businesses in Wales.

“The challenging part for Encon and other like-minded businesses in the industry is identifying the areas of our supply chain which social businesses can fulfil. Having a service like Social Business Connect that can provide us with exclusive access and knowledge of the sector, will help us enormously when it comes to achieving our social and environmental objectives.”

The Wales Co-operative Centre is Wales’ national development agency for co-operatives, mutuals, social enterprises and employee owned businesses. It applies its co-operative values to strengthening communities and services as well as supporting these businesses.

If you would like to find out more about Social Business Connect and how it can help your organisation to work with the social business sector then visit www.wales.coop/social-business-connect