“Did you know that The Guardian says social enterprises don’t collaborate very well?“ I said to Jess, director of Poached Creative CIC , my partner and the single biggest reason I am still in business. “That’s ridiculous” said Jess and in relation to our story, it is.
When I started my social enterprise Mediorite in 2010 I had a large corner of a big office for a really low rent. I was in there on my own though, just me, my mac and a table I’d stolen. So when Sally from V Inspired suggested I hook up with Poached Creative as a like minded business. I picked up the phone and arranged to meet Jess after work.
Two pints in I’d asked her to move in with me (according to Jess she wasn’t sure if I was brilliant or nuts but she was about to be evicted from her offices so she chose to trust the former)
Since then we have shared costs, work, annual strategy meetings and development plans. In fact three years on we’ve become symbiotic. What do I mean by that? When I started Mediorite fresh from IPC Media the most valuable services I felt I could offer were copy, design and web development, very similar to Poached. 3 years on it became clear that the young people I work with are more interested in film and photography and Mediorite is much better suited to deliver these services while Jess’s extensive journalism experience makes Poached better at delivering copy and design services
This means that clients benefit from access to a full service agency whichever one of our businesses they come through our consequently expertise in both areas and double the social value without the communication problems or fiddling around with commissioning two separate businesses. If social enterprise is Win: Win then we are surely WIN squared!
Poached have also proved to be a solid progression route for older members of my staff who are interested in copy writing or happy to earn some regular cash from administration work. This means that we have a truly diverse office with young people from 14 upwards as well as long term unemployed adults, plus a rescue dog called Fudge!
We can’t speak for the entire sector but what is clear from our story is that there are great examples of collaboration between social enterprises out there. Maybe we just don’t spend enough time talking about our stories.