The 2014 Shaftesbury Partnership annual event took place last Thursday evening at Manchester Art Gallery. Our aim each year is to fill a room with interesting people from different sectors and to provoke a series of discussions and debates around what is happening in the social economy. The name of the event, Northern Spirit, and our choice of venue reflect the fact that the Shaftesbury Partnership is particularly active in the North of England, with two of our most high-profile ventures based in the North West.
FranchisingWorks turns job seekers into job creators through franchising, by providing advice, guidance and access to funding. Chairman Chris Mould gave a preview of the way FranchisingWorks is itself using a franchising model to scale up its operations, and after supporting over 60 individuals into self-employment in Greater Manchester the company is now expanding into other regions. Nurse First, also based in the North West but with a national reach, is transforming frontline healthcare outcomes by producing a network of innovators who can create real change for patients and communities. Managing Director Dave Dawes explained the multiplier effect of building such a network, and the impact that comes about when people are changed and they then change other people.
As well as showcasing two of our own ventures, we invited Sharp Futures Manchester CIC to speak about their approach to supporting young people into employment. The North West has the second largest creative cluster in Europe and CEO Rose Marley emphasised how much potential there is for job creation if backed up by the right mix of inward investment and skills development.
The evening ended with a question to Chris Mould on what gave him the most optimism looking ahead to the rest of 2014. He believes it is the fact that a great deal of hope and determination exists in so many communities, which can be a powerful driver for scaling up impact.