CIC Association

Serving Community Enterprise

One of the things that the CIC Association can offer the emerging CIC community is online facilities.

This group is set up to discuss the various applications that could be fostered or developed for CICs.

The following ideas have been discussed

- an online marketplace
- a directory of CIC's
- a pooled community blog of CIC ress releases and stories
- a regular email to all CIC's
- an online advertising network hosted on CIC's websites
- a pool of case studies and printable information about CICs to show to stakeholders, banks, investors etc
- some "How to" guides for people starting out - how to get funding (especially as a lot of funders still haven't heard of CICs and will only fund charities), how to register, how to file accounts etc.
- social network integration with linkedIn, twitter, facebook etc

What does everyone think of these ideas? What is really important?

Lets discuss...

Views: 257

Replies to This Discussion

Hi Malcolm
we're just about to send a questionnaire out to all members, which will allow us to 'map' everyone, so you should be able to find other members by location and sector. This should help you find the groups you need to take forward your own plans. (All things going well we'll have a 'first version' searchable map of sorts available online by the end of OCT)

It'll also go a long way to helping us develop CIC strategically, the core data out there at the moment is limited and if we get a healthy reply rate, we'll have a solid body of build a reasoned strategy from. I dont need to wait for the questionnaire to know this will include spreading positive messages about what we are, and what the legislation can do.

Totally agree with your view on the need for mentoring up and coming CICs, we all know the time that can be saved by getting the right info from someone who's done it. One of the main reasons I want a successful association is so that i can benefit from everyone elses practical experience.

John
Hello Tom,

With regards to our services we offer graphic design, website creation with hosting, printing - including on-demand digital print and project management. This is our commercial arm which provides revenue to help with the training and employment of people from disadvantaged communities. As you can see an online market place would help businesses access the services we offer. As the CIC model take-up increases I would hope there will be more direct product based services on offer.

Steve
Very promising! It certainly adds weight to the argument - it woudl be wonderful if it was possiblle to source everything from CIC! Your case study provides great grounds for justifying the online marketplace.

How do you suppose it could work monetarily?
I feel that it would be great for there to be accessible advice about VAT and tax legislation regarding CIC's. Perhaps this could be peer led, based on advice different cic's are given and compiled in loose categories as an online resource or perhaps this could take another form?
We had thought that some very straight forward 1 page PDF's explaining key areas of CIC legislation that could be printed out. Such as one that explained the asset lock, one for the dividend cap, one called "What is a CIC" etc... a useful resource for CICs to print out in the knowledge that it was approved by the regulator and a legal team. Then it could be given to banks, investors, customers, potential partners/contractors etc

We coudl also work on case studies for things like investment, structuring etc
Any VAT or tax questions at all, come see me I'm a Charterd Tax Advisor at a Top 10 firm and also starting my own CIC providing accountancy services.

As for the wider topic, it seems to me that social enterprise is gradually seeping into the Public and Private sector's brains but "What is a CIC" is a few steps behind. Whether this actually matters depends on who the majority of CIC's customers are. A lot / The majority of social enterprises seem to sell services to the Public Sector, is it the same for CICs? [I guess the survey may tell us.] If so, we should hit people like the Local Government Association. If not, lets ignore them and work on consumers.
Beware the pitfalls of believing that open discussion does any more than influence.
What concerns me about cic's is that at the end of the day they are legal structures that allow us to do what we would be doing, and in some cases were doing, before they ever existed.
Let us hope we do not start sharing ideals lest they define us.
In the meantime I would like to see a little more us and a little less paperwork.
I too feel that this initiative would assist CiC's and the causes and purposes for which they are formed.
As much as the Regulations are government led, I feel that at the grass roots level, town and parish councils are generally ignorant about the existence of CiC's and how they are structured and operate. A guide as to how companies can assist communities would be helpful.
Equally with funding, many funders say that they assist registered charities and are not aware of the status of CiC's, many of which perform similar roles to local charities.
Anything that the Association can do to support members and thereby further the aims of CiC's in general would be worthwhile.

Bob (Shipston Town Management Partnership)

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