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Making the world a better place through business

Making the world a better place through business

How can you establish a business which will change the world for the better? This and other hot topics will be addressed by some of the UK’s leading social entrepreneurs as they share their wisdom at the second Bristol Social Enterprise Conference.

Among the big name speakers are Sophi Tranchell, the founder and managing director of Divine Chocolate, which is well-known for its mission to improve the lives of smallholder cocoa farmers in West Africa through a fairer trading relationship. 

She’s joined by award-winning social entrepreneur Peter Holbrook, the chief executive of Social Enterprise UK, whose job it is to make social enterprise a household phrase.

Along with other experienced speakers, they will share the secrets of their success in a bid to inspire the social entrepreneurs of the future at the conference on 10 November, which has been organised by students at the University of Bristol.

The aim of the conference is to discuss how to establish a social enterprise – a business trading for social and environmental purposes. There are 62,000 of them in the UK, contributing over £24billion to the economy and employing approximately 800,000 people.

Famous and well-established examples include The Big Issue, the Eden Project, John Lewis and Jamie Oliver’s restaurant Fifteen.

The themes for this year’s conference are ‘knowing’ and ‘growing’ – understanding the concept of social enterprise and realising that good ideas can be grown into ethical businesses.

Samuel Fry, Enterprise Consultant at the University of Bristol, said: “Bristol and the South West of England are at the forefront of growing a culture of social enterprise in the UK. It is fantastic to see that the University of Bristol students have recognised this, deciding to run an event which celebrates some really inspiring businesses. I’m sure that it will be a great day.”

The Bristol Social Enterprise Conference 2012, taking place in the Victoria Rooms, looks set to become the biggest student-run social enterprise conference in the UK.

It’s open to anyone who wants to debate, exchange and launch new ideas, from students who are aspiring to run their own social enterprise to local business professionals.

Gemma-Josiane Smith, President of the Bristol Social Enterprise Society, said: “The City of Bristol is unique not just in its concern for local and global issues, but in its passion and proactivity in addressing them. We hope the conference will attract a wide range of people who feel passionately about social enterprise and would like to debate, exchange and launch new ideas with like-minded people.”

Social enterprises are businesses that trade to tackle social problems, improve communities, people’s life chances, or the environment.  They make their money from selling goods and services in the open market, but they reinvest their profits back into the business or the local community.


The first Bristol Social Enterprise Conference was established last year by a small team of students from the University of Bristol. The day brought together over 100 students with successful social entrepreneurs from around the country, including Arthur Potts Dawson who founded the People’s Supermarket; Triodos Bank; Teach a Man to Fish; Enabling Enterprise and many other entrepreneurs and organisations came to share their wisdom.

This year’s event is set to double in size. The day consists of a variety of interesting workshops and talks, a delicious fair-trade lunch from FoodCycle and the Fairtrade Cafe, stalls to peruse and plenty of networking opportunities.

List of Speakers

  • Sophi Tranchell, Founder and MD of Divine Chocolate
  • Peter Holbrook, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK
  • Jim Ineson, Executive Director of Enactus UK
  • Mike Mompi, Head of Strategy & Innovation at MyBnk
  • Dirk Rohwedder, Head of Dartington School for Social Enterpreneurs
  • Phil Conway, Founder of Cool2care
  • Myles Orme, Partnership Coordinator at Ablaze
  • Amanda Feldman, Engagement Manager of Volans
  • Dave Jarman, Head of Enterprise at University of Bristol
  • Doireann Lalor, Co-Founder of Cultivate
  • Ry Morgan, CEO of PleaseCycle


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