Spark Social Enterprise | 2 Mers Seas Zeeën


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Spark Social Enterprise

Priority Axis

Technological and Social Innovation

Specific objective

Framework Conditions for Innovation

Lead partner

University of Brighton


Start Date


End Date


Project budget

3 085 644

ERDF amount

1 851 385

ERDF rate



    Common challenge

    The common challenges tackled by the project are: “relatively low level of social innovation” and “development of social enterprises as SMEs”. Social Enterprises (SEs) are well placed to deliver social innovation in the 2 seas area. A 2012 SBS survey found 67% of UK SEs had introduced a new or significantly improved product or service in the previous 12 months compared to 43% of non-SE SMEs. Yet their dual missions of social purpose and business create complex needs which require specialized solutions in order to make social innovations commercially viable and sustainable.

    Main Achievements

    The Spark Project has seen the successful completion of pioneering research led by University of Brighton which has resulted in the 'Social Enterprise Innovation Roadmap' document - a user friendly document that social enterprises can use to evaluate, stimulate and grow their own capacity for sustainable innovation. The documents outlines the framework conditions neccesary for sustainable innovation and provides case studies that highlight innovation in practice. To support the Innovation Roadmap UoB has also produced a number of tools such as a version of the Innovation Roadmap specific to start up SEs, and also the 1-2-3 Go! methodology which has been disseminated through workshops and 1-2-1 coaching sessions as part of the Accelerator Programme (WP2).

    The research also led to the development of the Strategy and Action plan - a 'living document' whereby stakeholders and support agencies can 'cross-furtalise' their plans and commitments to grow the ecosystem and support for the social enterprises. Stakeholders from all sectors are also actively engaging in the Social Enterprise Innovation Accelerator Network. The membership of this online community has grown to ***. The network provides opportunities for the exchange of skills, knowledget and support through cross border cooperation.

    The Social Enterprise Innovation Accelerator Programme has now completed and has had a huge impact with three cross boarder Safaris, a programme of expert coaching sessions for SEs to focus on their own individual innovation journey and the programme culminated in a very well recieved Conference in Brussels which provided opportunities for those social enterprises involved in the Open Innovation Group (OIG) to present their learning and development and an opportunity for stakeholders, support agencies and social enterprises from the three cross border nations to begin discussing and exploring how Open Innovation can further be developed in the 2 Seas area.

    We are just about to launch a fantastic webportal for start up social enterprises which will provide expert and accessible information through a series of 19 modules - unlike anything that currently exists for new start up social enterprises!



    West Sussex County Council

    Sociale Innovatie Fabriek

    De Punt

    Seinwezen Beheer


    URL / Download

    Innovation Accelerator Programme

    Theme: Cluster development - Social economy or entrepreneurship
    Type: Service
    Target: Innovation agencies - Social enterprises and non-for-profit organisations - Universities and research centres