New network will ‘Enhance’ the region’s social enterprises

Published on 31st January 2020

A new network has been launched in Devon and Somerset which will connect the region’s many and varied social enterprises, supporting them to grow and benefit their local economies - and create positive social change. 

Enhance social enterprise network

Enhance brings together new and existing members from across the two counties to form an umbrella network that will provide events, training and networking opportunities across the region. Members also receive a listing on the new website at:, along with regular newsletters, opportunities for additional support programmes, peer-learning, an exclusive Facebook group and lots more. 

The new network is a partnership of the independent organisations: Devon Communities Together; Essence of Exeter CIC; Plymouth Social Enterprise Network; Local Spark Torbay Community Supported Enterprise; and Smart Communities Ltd (of Community Council of Somerset). The Heart of the South West Enhance Social Enterprise programme is receiving funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural & Investment Funds growth programme 2014-2020. 

Explaining the benefits of creating this new network, project manager at lead partner Devon Communities Together, Dr Louise MacAllister, said: “Social enterprises are everywhere we look – we just might not be aware of it! Like traditional businesses, they aim to make a profit but it’s what they do with that profit that sets them apart; reinvesting or donating it to create positive social change, whether in their own community or further afield. They can be anything from banks to coffee shops, a village hall to a swimming pool or gym. 

“A strong social enterprise network helps to create a healthy ecosystem for growth and development and by creating Enhance Social Enterprise Network we not only want to provide opportunities for individual businesses to develop, we also want to support the sector to contribute to our local economies and ultimately change the world for the better!” 

To apply to join the Enhance Social Enterprise Network, please visit and fill in the enquiry form, which will be directed to your local network partner. It is open to social enterprises of all shapes and sizes – if you run a commercial organisation that does something socially conscious with its profits then you’re probably a social enterprise so please do get in touch!

The website is also the place to go to find the latest events available in your area, or to search for your local social enterprises and show them your support. 

You can also follow the Enhance Social Enterprise Network on Twitter (@EnhanceSEN), Facebook (Enhance Social Enterprise Network), Instagram (EnhanceSocialEntDevSom) and LinkedIn (Enhance Social Enterprise Network Devon & Somerset).

Photo caption: (l-r) Annette Dhami (Plymouth Social Enterprise Network); Amerie Rose (Essence of Exeter); Jessica Holliland (Plymouth Social Enterprise Network); Sarah Newman (Devon Communities Together); Hannah Burbedge (Somerset RCC); Dr Louise MacAllister (Devon Communities Together); Jane Birch (Somerset RCC)

Additional information:

1.    European Regional Development Fund
The Heart of the South West Enhance Social Enterprise Programme is receiving up to £1,053,610 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for ERDF. Established by the European Union, ERDF funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit

2.    Enhance Social Enterprise Network Devon and Somerset
 The Enhance Social Enterprise Network Devon and Somerset is a partnership of:

• Devon Communities Together (DCT), covering the rural Devon area
• ESSENCE of Exeter CIC, covering Exeter
• Plymouth Social Enterprise Network (PSEN), covering Plymouth
• Local Spark: Torbay Community Supported Enterprise, covering Torbay
• Smart Communities Ltd (of Community Council of Somerset), covering Somerset.

Its aim is to support and promote social enterprises of all shapes and sizes across our region.
Any social enterprise may join for a range of business benefits and support, including networking opportunities, peer learning, an entry into our online directory, regular newsletters, opportunities for further support and more.

Social enterprises are businesses that are changing the world for the better. Like traditional businesses they aim to make a profit but it’s what they do with their profits that sets them apart – reinvesting or donating them to create positive social change. Social enterprises are in our communities and on our high streets – from coffee shops and cinemas, to pubs and leisure centres, banks and bus companies. Famous examples include Big Issue, Divine Chocolate and the Eden Project.