Making 'social enterprise' credible

By staff writers
August 21, 2013

It was the Occupy movement world wide that first coined the phrase "the one per cent" to denote the very small number of exceptionally powerful people who make far too many of the decisions about how our world runs.

Mention the word 'business', for example, and many people immediately think of large corporations operating in the interests of a very few.

Alternatively, perhaps they think of small street corner enterprises. There can be a big gulf between the two, and between those who ostensibly run 'business' and the great majority of ordinary people.

So how can we run, own, manage and organise 'business' as if the 99% really mattered?

That's the subject of the Just Festival conversation from 6-7.30pm at St John's Episcopal Church in Edinburgh (venue 127) this evening. Tickets cost £5.

In particular, there will be an emphasis on 'social business'. Seen as an instrument to tackle poverty and promote micro-finance, social enterprises have generated great interest, and not only among those who lean towards 'socialism'.

This new form of business with a ‘conscience’ is increasingly being adopted in Scotland and beyond. Yet, are the new models sustainable as businesses and for the communities they support?

The speakers this evening will be Frank McKillop (ABCUL), Kirsty Burnham (SoLoCo), Habib Malik (Islamic Relief Worldwide), and Josh Littlejohn (Social Bite). The chair will be Martin Sime, chief executive of the Scottish Council of Volunatry Organisations (SCVO).

Come along, find out more, and take part in the conversation. Then take in something to eat or drink in the relaxed atmosphere of the Persian Tent at St John's, if you will, and head off to the Quaker Meeting House for 8.30pm to hear about how Triodos Bank is one of the financial institutions trying to put the ethics back into business and the social back into enterprise (

Just Festival, also known simply as Just, runs from 2-26 August 2013. It is based at St John's Church, Edinburgh, and some 27 other occasional venues, and combines artistic and performance style events with conversations, talks, films, exhibits and other ways of exploring how to live together creatively in a mixed-belief society.

* Full booking details for 'Business for the other 99%' can be found here:

* For more information on Just Festival, visit and

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