CIC Association

Serving Community Enterprise

Dear CIC Association members

It is with a certain degree of trepidation that I write this email on behalf of John Mulkerrin and myself.

Since we met in May 2008 John and I have committed ourselves to the furtherance of the CIC legislation and community. We are both believers in what CIC stands for and have been spurred on at every juncture by the amazing people we have met along the way who have shared our passion.


CICs and the legislation we are beholden too is not getting the attention required to move it on. Despite our best and repeated endeavours there is no urgency whatsoever being shown by any power that be in allocating resource to this growing movement. We remain without funding and without satisfactory recognition.

Every month there are over 150 CICs forming - there are just under 4000 now in existence. Since the official launch of the CIC Association on the 9th September 2009 we have had over 450 registrations on the site. This is the fastest growing social enterprise movement in the country. There is no doubt in our minds that CIC will come to represent the vehicle of choice for social and community enterprise in this country in time. But we are going to have to make a noise.

Why is this legislation being ignored? Where is the funding to develop CICs? Given the pace of growth in this sector do you not think it yet another disgrace that something so positive is being almost completely ignored?

The Social Enterprise Coalition are currently allocating considerable resource to the development of yet another "identifier". Why has this resource not been allocated to nurturing this rapidly emerging movement?

Addressing this is not the job of the Regulator - although without their support we could not have achieved what we have so far.

Neither myself nor John can continue to fight against this on our own. Our intention has always been to make the Association the property of all CICs and that time has come. We have to stand up for the vehicles we have chosen to ride in. We are not resigning our positions as Directors, but we are asking for the CIC community to work with us now to put this matter on the national agenda.

We need to get a story in the Daily Mail, the Guardian, the Telegraph, on social networks, wherever - we need someone with power to acknowledge our existence and start to help us address the things we know we need. WE DO NOT NEED ANOTHER ORGANISATION TO CHARGE US AN ANNUAL FEE!!!! We need to take CIC as a brand and as a legislation a national reality and put it on the tip of every politician, investor and funder's tongue. We need the public to know just how positive the growth in this emerging market actually is.

John and I will not be able to co-ordinate this - it has gone beyond that - but we will do everything we can in line with any every effort made. We are asking you to self organise and make this happen.

Yours incredibly sincerely

Tom Barnett and John Mulkerrin

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Comment by Jeff Mowatt on November 5, 2009 at 13:48
Some links that may be useful.

These are things I kicked off which means business for social purpose is at the core. First there's about 200 on the Facebook Group for social enterprise, where I've added a Chinese and an American SE organisers

There's the social business group on Linkedin - another 200

Social business entrepreneurs on Wiser Earth

Then there's Twitter, where I'm found as @peoplenotnumber and various lists and hashtags which can be explored.

Lets start the first verse!
Comment by Tom Barnett on November 5, 2009 at 13:25
go chris.
Comment by Jeff Mowatt on November 5, 2009 at 13:11
Chris, The Kossacks networking for job and community site erupted last year from the readership of Daily Kos. A few thousand pissed off Americans who chose Stand By Me as their theme song.

It's on Youtube too
Comment by Chris Conder on November 5, 2009 at 12:55
All community groups have the same problem. Social enterprise is a joke when it comes to getting support, unless your cause is something politically correct, such as providing a drop in center for a one legged, blind, illiterate, single parent, gay, ethnic minority illegal immigrant. Not that I have anything against those people - but the fact remains that nobody is interested in communities trying to make our worlds a better place. We JFDI ourselves, and a CIC is the best sort of business to be registered with as far as we can tell. We operate as a proper business, but not for personal profit, we exist to build our business for the benefit of the people using it... Therefore any support we can give to an association working on our behalf we will do. Trouble is we are so busy fighting our own battles we have a very small voice on a global scale, but maybe many small voices saying the same thing will have an effect? What is the message we want to shout? What is the song we have to sing? More clarity needed methinks.
Comment by Jeff Mowatt on November 5, 2009 at 12:17
Understood John, but sometimes it's necessary to tell it how it is for the sake of intergrity.

An example is offered in the problems encountered with government in Crimea a few years ago. Local officials wanting to add in their own non transparent projects with higher budgets. It had to be blocked and on looking around at how things were something needed to be said, which caused a few eyebrows to be raised.

Later as we were to discover reticence had transcended into being co-opted into silence with reasonable grounds for fear. Again a matter of speaking out for the greater good.

This is organised crime siphoning resources. The extreme end of self-serving business where profit and numbers are without conscience. A culture preserved by encouraging reticence.

Why should I be any less critical of those here who place their own interests above the common good. The consequences of being painted out of the picture here are no less than the obstacles of corruption overseas. They both obstruct our social outcome which is above all to prevent people being disenfranchised and disposable.

I'm incline to see it as Dylan wrote it in Hard Rain, knowing my song well before I start singing.

"I'll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest,
Where the people are many and their hands are all empty,
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters,
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison,
Where the executioner's face is always well hidden,
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten,
Where black is the color, where none is the number,
And I'll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it,
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it,
Then I'll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin',
But I'll know my song well before I start singin',"

I am for compassion, humanity as I try to describe here:

Comment by John Mulkerrin on November 5, 2009 at 11:31
there's always a little reticence to say certain things publicly Jeff, as often any criticism can marginalise you from the community, the last thing 99.9% of CICs want to do.
Comment by Jeff Mowatt on November 5, 2009 at 9:38
Hi Chris,

As John Knows I'm operating a social purpose business which isn't a CIC and to illustrate what we do there's a summary on our business web site.

I've just completed the CIC survey out of interest and from some of the questions gain the impression that CICs and ourselves have the same obstacles.

Finance for example. With 3 months dedicated to developing a profit for community broadband plan we sought seed capital having registered as a guarantee company. It proved impossible. With no shares, conventional investment was out, the charity banks wouldn't touch us and Coop finance from ICOF was our only option. They told us that community broadband funding demand was such that only bona-fide coops were being funded.

Then our founder, an American, was refused permission to return here as a visitor. I sought assistance from the Chair of the SEC and my MP, to be disregarded.

So we were more or less constrained to operating overseas where we ran into antagonism. Not surprising as we were challenging government to do something about organised crime. After our shocking expose of conditions in homes for disabled children, described as 'Death Camps' a furious defamation campaign began on Google and spread to vandalism on Wikipedia where we have effectively been erased by concerted anonymous efforts

The intention is clearly to put us out of action and these efforts play on the lack of awareness of social purpose business to suggest that we intent to profit from bogus humanitarian causes. We know the source but are restrained from naming him, an aspirng politician, by his legal representative who threatens litigation for doing so. Investigation reveals that the legal counsel is both his sister and a UK barrister.

Regardless of this, in Ukraine, our efforts have persuaded action which is reflected in increase of domestic adoption and a new USAID foundation to support social enterprise. Tragically disabled children are still being brushed under the carpet - in many cases tossed into graves.

For us, the CIC is inadequate as a model to incorporate our type of activism. It's the construct of lawyers and social enterprise, the new domain of politicians.

With 50,000+ It's not that Jamie Oliver's efforts are the only thing worthy of publication or that Liam Black is the only voice of social enterprise. Most of the rest are being shut out from any media exposure.

Meanwhile the intellectual property placed in the public domain as social enterprise is being regurgitated by others, served up as "new thinking". I offer the iillustation of Oxford University and the concepts we published on the web nearly 13 years ago.

To me it seems there is no collaboration or solidarity in social enterprise, but a determined effort of a politically motivated minority to establish a position of authority and keep the rest out of the picture.

Why I have to ask until now has there been so little discussion online, if as the number of email responses to this indicate, there is so much dissatisfaction.

Comment by John Mulkerrin on November 4, 2009 at 19:41
Hi Chris
Anyone can join and it only takes a couple of minutes, having non CICs contribute to the community is going to be vital for us to make sure we integrate into the wider SE community as successfully as possible.
Comment by Chris Conder on November 4, 2009 at 15:50
Is it possible to join this network and support it without being a member of an existing CIC company? Or could we allow comments on this post from anyone? just a thought. Moderation and logins can put off people who would wish to comment but haven't got the time to register. It is important we enlist the help of as many people as possible.


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