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Role of Trade/Support groups and consultancies

Trade organizations have influence over particular types of SEs or try to support the sector generally. The nature of this support is typically non-financial, thus differentiating these groups from funding bodies. Their primary interest is in ensuring the success of their members and, to this end, represents their interests. They provide inputs to SEs in the form of support, training and performance tools development, networking opportunities and championing their cause on a local and national scale.

The predominant measure of success for support organizations is the creation of more SEs, leading to sustainable growth in the third sector. A specific example of support group with a focus on engagement with specific SEs is that of Social Firms UK. This organization provides members with a number of accessible ‘tools’ and ‘performance dashboards’ to raise awareness of the importance of measuring success. The also place a strong emphasis on support without coercion, recognizing that SEs often require support at specific stages of their development (start-up, growth and closing down).