CIC Association

Serving Community Enterprise

Welcome to the online forum of the new CIC Association. With your support and involvement we hope to become a focal point to develop the agenda, share information and realise the potential that is latent in what is the first new company legislation for close to 150 years.

The impetus for the Association has come from CICs wanting a way to directly engage in the agenda, from a defined perspective. From general awareness and communication issues thru to technical matters such as improving capital inflows into the sector, distinct challenges and opportunities are becoming apparent. What’s also becoming apparent is the willingness of the community to help CICs develop. All the development so far has been contributed pro-bono and we’ve had many offers of support and assistance, which we will be taking up! Although little more than off the ground, we have been very well received (mostly) and have a strong and multi skilled community forming from across the country, including academics, influencers, enablers and facilitators.

Although comparatively small as a group, CICs are already operating across the spectrum of business sectors, at local, regional and national levels, and it makes sense to have a central point from which to co-operate to tackle shared issues. By working together we should be able to tap into the wealth of expertise that’s already there and create the mass needed to accelerate the agenda.

It’s vital we start building a robust, up to date and accurate picture of the CIC sector, so it's vital all key decision makers within their CIC to complete our questionnaire.

Existing survey samples are often criticised as having insufficient data or too few respondents, with your help our questionnaire will provide valuable data that will be crucial in understanding the needs of CICs and useful in developing the social enterprise agenda as a whole. Part of the initial strategy to keep the association free to CICs is to use this data to attract funding and sponsorship, more of which later.

This will sound cheesy but what I enjoy most about being involved with this is meeting all the other CIC practitioners, I honestly believe it would be crazy not to try to harness all that talent, experience and knowledge for the wider good. Whether we’ll dilute the message from social enterprise as a whole is a tough question. I think if we all give it a go together we can strengthen the message, and make life a little easier for ourselves. Awareness issues anyone? Having an association allows us to speak to the powers that be and organise our own solutions. The answers from you in the key decision maker questionnaire will dictate the strategies we take forward.

We face the same issues as other social enterprises, but on some we have different solutions, on others, slightly different needs. We need our own nexus to all the existing stakeholders and each other, not only to ask questions but also to give answers. CIC practitioners aren’t short of an opinion in my experience, and mostly they’re relevant and solution based opinions.

Who’s in charge of brand, what’s the plan moving forward and what steps are being taken to achieve that development are only the start of the questions . Awareness issues anyone? Having an association allows us to speak to the powers that be and organise our own solutions. The answers from you in the key decision maker questionnaire will dictate the strategies we take forward.

I’m fed up with being met with bemused looks when I say I’m a CIC, what do they say about never getting a second chance to make first impression? We really do need to accelerate this agenda, and some focussed work on some strong ‘2nd generation’ literature for distribution for ourselves and stakeholders would be a good start. It’s not all doom and gloom though, the other night I was chatting to an old pal I hadn’t seen in a few years, he’s doing very well and has just been nominated for a local business award. When I asked what he knew about CICs he said ‘yeah, I was talking to some other guy about these last week, I don’t know exactly, but I’ve heard they’re the future’........He couldn’t figure out why I fell off the chair (and no doubt attributed it to the tequila slammers)

Knowing who we are, what, when, where and how we do things will give us a platform to build from, I personally believe the most important thing is defining why we do it. The CIC community is pragmatic and progressive, with an active social conscience, and we hope with your support the association can develop to reflect that.

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