Combining Profit with purpose: Salford Business School commits to supporting social enterprises navigate the current economic climate

20th April 2023, 9:07 am

On Thursday 18 May, University of Salford Business School is hosting a breakfast panel event centring on the topic of ‘combining purpose with profit,’ exploring how social enterprises can navigate the current economic environment to thrive.

According to Social Enterprise UK (SEUK), there are now more than 100,000 organisations[i] operating in this space across Britain, each of whom are battling for their fair share of the limited funding available. A recent report from SEUK also indicated 18,000 social enterprises are at risk of closure, due to the tough economic climate[ii].

With increases in operational and staffing costs continuing, as well as a reduction in commissioning opportunities for public sector contracts due to declining budgets, despite demand for product/services increasing, opportunities to drive growth, in turn profitability, might seem limited to those in the sector.

Joining Salford Business School social enterprise expert and Lecturer in in People and Organisations, Dr Katherine Rostron, for the panel discussion will be moderator, Claire-Marie Boggiano, alongside:


  • Dr Marilyn Comrie OBE FRSA, Principal Founder of the Black United Representation Network
  • Nile Henry, Founder and CEO of The Blair Project, as well as GM Social Enterprise Advisory Group Member which is part of Greater Manchester Combined Authority
  • Ed Siegel, Chief Executive of Charity Bank
  • Stuart Vaughan, Third Sector Development Business Advisor, The Growth Company
  • Cat Chrimes, Head of Investments at GMCVO (Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation)


The conversation will centre on thinking commercially to drive growth and profitability in the social enterprise space, while exploring the priorities of impact investors in the current economic climate.

Dr Francine Morris, Associate Dean of Enterprise and Engagement at Salford Business School, comments: “When your customer base comprises those hardest hit during a cost of living crisis, navigating times of economic uncertainty can feel like you’re fighting a losing battle.

“For social enterprises, times are challenging to say the least, with many feeling the need to focus more on the enterprise arm of their organisations, moving increasingly away from their socially-driven foundations. There are however ways to strike the perfect balance and this event will centre on supporting those in the sector find that.”

Dr Marilyn Comrie OBE FRSA, Principal Founder of the Black United Representation Network, adds: “Making the procurement process more inclusive for social enterprises needs to be given a greater priority in Greater Manchester if we’re to achieve our vision of a fairer more prosperous city region.

“They exist to deal with some of the most challenging societal challenges. But the last three years have been tough for so many of them, due to declining revenues, increased demand for their services and the rising cost of living. We need anchor organisations in Greater Manchester to do more to help this vital sector by commissioning or contracting with them.”

Salford Business School is based at the heart of Greater Manchester’s dynamic business community, with the School working in collaboration and committed to supporting a wide range of regional businesses, from SMEs to multi-nationals, supporting growth and productivity in the area.

Francine concludes: “The current landscape for all commercial organisations is difficult, particularly those whose primary objective is to support those struggling most. For this reason, funding your cause and having the capital available to turn your vision for a better world into a reality, may feel like an impossible task to deliver. Despite the huge positive impact social enterprises have on society, securing adequate funding and investment continues to be amongst one of the biggest challenges.

“Social enterprises are incredibly important part of society. They make great economical contributions, but are grounded in purpose-driven work. Our panel comprises social enterprise experts, those operating in the space as well as investors, who will be offering invaluable advice to help navigate the trying times we’re in. There will also be opportunity for attendees to meet other likeminded organisations to share best practice.”

The free event will be held at the Old Fire Station at Salford Business School’s Peel Park Campus from 9am on Thursday 18 May. Guests can register for a ticket here.

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