Let’s start with having a look at social enterprises:

According to the Social Enterprise Coalition, “social enterprises are business organisations that trade with a social purpose”. They are enterprises which are developed and constituted to fulfil a particular social or community purpose. Their profits are reinvested towards those social or community purposes, and they are normally owned and managed by the members of the community in question.

It is important to recognise that ‘social enterprise’ is not a legal term, but a business model; a culture and mindset, then a skill set and the legal structure could then be a Company Limited by Guarantee, a Community Interest Company or a Charity. Social enterprises don’t make money for the sake of making money, they make money in order to do good and sometimes in the process of doing good. There are five common characteristics for social enterprises which could be of great value to community sports clubs:

Social enterprises don’t make money for the sake of making money, they make money in order to do good and sometimes in the process of doing good.

There are five common characteristics for social enterprises which could be of great value to community sports clubs:

1

They are enterprise orientated (the focus is on developing a culture where customer service, business planning and innovation is at the forefront)

2

They are customer and community focused

3

Profit is NOT a ‘dirty’ word because when they make a profit, that profit is put back into the enterprise

4

They are liberated from other organisations’ policies, bureaucracy and procedures

5

They are recognised as entrepreneurial and dynamic

Where there’s a will, there’s skill… the challenge is how to add enterprise culture and business skills into our community sports clubs

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change”                                                                                                                                                 Charles Darwin

So what is a Community Sports Enterprise?

In sports enterprise someone recognises a sports problem or opportunity and uses entrepreneurial principles to create, and manage a venture (internally or externally) to solve the problem and/or exploit the opportunity. Whereas a business entrepreneur measures return in profit, a community sports entrepreneur focuses on creating sports, social and community capital whilst producing a surplus (the four S model, see below).

The four S model –

the key to successful sports enterprise is to balance and optimise the four Ss

These four components must be completely interlinked if sports enterprise is to be successful.

In comparison, only on the odd occasion has traditional sports development focused on financial sustainability, yet somehow it has expected that somebody should stump up the funding for activities which are almost always free at point of delivery.

Therefore, a big challenge is to develop sports provision that users will want to pay for.

The Sports Club as a Community Sports Enterprise – the eight key strands

To be really successful, a CSE must focus on eight key strands and treat them with equal importance:

1. Vision and strategy – what are you for?

2. Develop strong leadership and management

3. Provide great sporting and consumer experiences

4. Be for the community

5. Be welcoming and vibrant

6. Engage and communicate better internally and externally

7. Generate income

8. Getting things done through people

Yes, I do appreciate that perhaps only the third strand ‘experience’ is directly sports-related, but this highlights a key point:

Community Sports Enterprises are really about getting away from a culture of ‘grant-addiction’, ‘sport for sport’s sake’ and ‘the way we do things around here’ and moving towards a community-focused and enterprising organisation which uses sport as a lever and at the same time helps community sports clubs to become, and stay, welcoming and sustainable.

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