Leading the social business revolution

David Alcock is partner and social business expert at Anthony Collins Solicitors.

Manchester is an exciting place to be right now. There is an energy in the air. One that is shifting the dynamics of the city, changing how its people operate and establishing a new industrial landscape.

Behind this transformation is the potential of the social business sector to address key challenges facing the region. Set out by Mayor, Andy Burnham at last month’s Greater Manchester Social Enterprise Summit, his vision serves to secure a “thriving, inclusive economy in all parts of Greater Manchester,” with the co-operative and social enterprise industries already having a remarkable impact, providing jobs to local people and reinvesting profits back into the community.

Highlighting the economic and social benefits of growing these sectors, this rallying cry is resonating not only in the North West but nationally.

By establishing a second home in Manchester, Anthony Collins Solicitors is answering this call. We know it is time for a different, better way of doing business; one that serves the common good.

Historically, Anthony Collins Solicitors has aligned itself with social enterprises and co-operatives. Similar to the firm’s mission-led social values, businesses from these sectors share an operating model that holds progress above profits. However, our support spans more than being like-minded.  

The firm’s contract with Co-operatives UK – the nation’s biggest co-operative network – is a prime example of the steps we are taking to grow the social business movement.

This remit sees our team provide a legal surgery service, allowing member businesses to access two free hours of council – a lifeline for those starting up or more established firms.

Member businesses of Co-operatives UK employ 235,000 people, recording a combined turnover of almost £16billion. But this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Galvanised by the huge potential for growth, we are working in partnership with Co-operatives UK’s internal team to advise firms on contracts, property and co-op law.

Often complex areas that stifle growth, this collaboration is allowing many to overcome legal obstacles to enter new markets and expand their operations.

The timing of our entrance to Manchester is no coincidence. As traditional business models struggle for survival, Anthony Collins Solicitors wants to continue to play a crucial role in this charge-for-change.

By building on our expertise in housing and local government, we plan to engage with the wider landscape. Bringing together organisations across the country with those in the North West we will explore the opportunities emerging in community-led housing and ownership, as well as helping existing businesses, social enterprises and co-operatives drive better value from their assets.

While the development of new strategies and partnerships does mean the direction of travel is forward, there is more to be achieved. For Anthony Collins Solicitors, our new home in Manchester is now more important than ever, and we urge talented lawyers with a drive for change to join us on leading this social business revolution.

Find out more about Anthony Collins Solicitors’ Manchester office and current roles being recruited here – http://www.anthonycollins.com/manchester.