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Cornwall has been designated a rural social enterprise zone.
Unlike business enterprise zones which offer financial incentives to companies, the aim of rural social enterprise is to boost the local economy and care for the environment.
Civil Society Minister Nick Hurd said it was about “businesses who wanted to use profit for social good”. Organisations involved include Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall, the Eden Project and Community Energy Plus.
Cornwall’s rural social enterprise designation is the first in the UK and was accredited by Social Enterprise UK (SEUK). Its chief executive Peter Holbrook said it was an outstanding achievement for Cornwall which he said was “one of the most dynamic places in the UK for social enterprise”.
‘Community spirit’ He said the duchy was a “hive of social enterprise” and the combination of public and private collaboration was exceptional.
“It has both the volume and quality when it comes to creativity and it has that great local community spirit,” he said. “Cornwall’s status as a rural social enterprise zone means that business leaders, politicians and public agencies recognise that social enterprise has a key role to play in shaping the future of Cornwall,” he added.
Fifteen Cornwall was set up as the Cornwall Food Foundation charity in 2006 as a chef training programme and restaurant with the intention of providing qualifications and a future for young people in the Duchy who had hit hard times.
Of the 120 apprentices enrolled, more than 90% are in work, and about 70% are chefs. Chief Executive Matthew Thomson said. “Right across the country what we’re seeing is that people making big profits at the expense of other people is no longer acceptable,
“What a social enterprise structure can give you is a way of levelling out those profits, so that more people get a fair share and the profits are put to work for the community and the environment.”
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