The Enterprise Village - Tees Valley

Architect's impression of the new facility. 

Architect's impression of the new facility. 

Low productivity is one of the major economic challenges facing the UK, and raising it is an issue that requires innovative collaborations between the public, private and charity sectors. The Enterprise Village, to be located on south side of Stockton-on-Tees, is gearing up to address the challenge with an exciting new approach.

Goodlabs are supporting the team at Tees Valley Community Projects to build on their prior success in providing accredited training, delivering children's work, youth work, family work and wellbeing services. The Enterprise Village will transform the lives of thousands of Tees Valley residents through developing economic and social potential side by side in a uniquely resourced location.

It will be a collaborative community within which local entrepreneurs grow their businesses parallel to disengaged young adults taking significant steps towards entering the regional workforce. Others who have experienced major interruptions to their career through redundancy and illness will be retrained and upskilled.

The Enterprise Village will be strategically located off the A66 in Eaglescliffe, Stockton-on-Tees, adjacent to The Oakwood Centre – home of Tees Valley Community Church. It will be an attractive energy-efficient campus of workshops, serviced office space, training rooms, event facilities and community wellbeing services. Instead of the hard-edged formality that is a feature of large scale business and educational facilities the Village will emphasise accessibility and an atmosphere  of hope, opportunity and collaboration.

Goodlabs is supporting the development of the detailed research case and business planning required to underpin the £4.5 million fundraising target. We secured £72,000 of investment-readiness funding for the charity in order to support this work. 

Architectural visualisation above provided courtesy of Grace Choi Architecture.   


From the USA to the UK

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Life is unpredictable and any of us can be hit by a crisis at any time. When these unexpected events bring with them a serious financial impact they are referred to as ‘income shocks’. Over a quarter of the UK adult population will have suffered an income shock in the last year. Millions have neither ‘rainy day’ savings nor access to family and friends who may offer temporary assistance in such a time of crisis.  

Without an adequate social security safety net many people’s last resort is high-cost borrowing in the form of credit cards, payday loans, overdrafts and pawnbrokers. This toxic combination of an unexpected financial challenge arriving suddenly in the absence of protective factors pushes as many as one million people per year into serious problem debt.

Common Change has been addressing these issues in communities around the USA for over a decade and in late 2016 requested our help to extend their operation to the UK. As well as taking care of the formalities of registering with the Charities Commission and establishing a UK banking operation Goodlabs has been able to provide strategic support with the adaptation of the Common Change model into the British cultural and regulatory context. 

Triple Bottom Line

It's almost impossible to conceive of the recent emergence of the Social Value and Social Impact without giving credit to the idea of ‘Triple Bottom Line’ (aka TBL/3BL), a revolutionary business philosophy pioneered by John Elkington in the mid 1990’s. TBL argues that successful and sustainable organisations create (or destroy) value within three distinct but inter-related arenas – social, economic and environmental.

Economic success: The financial bottom line remains the ultimate barometer of the performance of an organisation, whatever the sector it operates in. It is of no surprise then that there are over 300,000 accountants in the UK. Goodlabs is comfortable working with accountants, but is in no way seeking to duplicate their work.

Environmental success: Increased regulation as well as changes in public mood have led to the emergence of a busy environmental consultancy sector ensuring that organisations meet relevant sustainability standards. It is becoming increasingly common for firms to produce a ‘sustainability report’ alongside the publishing of their annual accounts. Goodlabs is comfortable working with consultants in this sector, but again is not seeking to duplicate their work either.

Social success: The social dimension of TBL remains poorly defined and under-resourced. Organisations that wish to demonstrate that they are having a positive impact within human society, for individuals, families and communities, cannot draw on the same levels of expertise that can be found in the financial and environmental sectors. Where expertise does exist the fees make accessing help cost-prohibitive for all but the largest corporations.

This is precisely the gap that Goodlabs now fills...

The New Convergence

As we progress further into the 21st century we are witnessing increasing convergence between the public, private and voluntary sectors. The public sector is commissioning out more of its work. Private sector and voluntary sector often bid against one another for the contracts. The effect is that charities are needing to become more commercially astute and businesses are needing to become more socially aware. A new common ground is emerging in the process, a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between costs, impacts, outcomes and value creation. The ability to articulate, measure, report and communicate social value, as distinct from financial bottom line, is becoming an essential requirement.