Can social enterprises really change the world? Hackney is set to find out

The panel of speakers launching the Hackney is Social manifesto

The panel of speakers launching the Hackney is Social manifesto - Credit: HCD

A university professor is set to find out whether the commitment of 58 Hackney businesses, social enterprises and organisations to the idealistic aims of a manifesto for a fairer society can translate into real social change.

Dozens of groups pledged to abide by the Hackney is Social manifesto last week at an all-day conference in Curtain Road, Shoreditch organised by Hackney Co-operative Developments.

The idea is to use “entrepreneurial energy and spending power to create a fairer society with less inequality, built upon caring for ourselves, each other and the planet, where diversity is valued and everyone has an equal opportunity to flourish”.

Hackney Council is one of the signatories who have pledged to promote awareness and understanding of social enterprises, and support them and increase their reach.

Like traditional businesses, social enterprises do aim to make a profit. But what happens with the profits sets them apart, like reinvesting or donating them to create positive social change.

Dr Angela Martinez Dy, a lecturer in entrepreneurship at Loughborough University London at Here East will track the development of the social enterprise sector in Hackney.

“The purpose of the research is to understand how we can mobilise a convening tool like the manifesto into real social change, and to track this process to take forward for future learning,” she said.