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Council co-sponsors social enterprise forum

The Providers' Council co-sponsored a forum on Thursday, January 26 to advance human services social enterprises and purpose businesses in Massachusetts. Other co-sponsors included the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, and the Massachusetts Chapter of the Social Enterprise Alliance.

The forum provided an opportunity to learn about resources available to social enterprises and to discuss what additional support is needed. The forum was well attended by more than fifty providers, state representatives, and academics interested in social enterprise.

Providers' Council President and CEO Michael Weekes and Executive Office of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. JudyAnn Bigby offered welcoming remarks. Community Work Services President and CEO Serena Powell and Communities for People President and Executive Director Joseph Leavey discussed their different models of social enterprise and how business ventures help their agencies to further their social missions.

A panel discussion about state resources available to support social enterprise followed. Anne Wunderli, Director of Facilities and Social Enterprise for Pine Street Inn and Board Chair of the Mass. chapter of the Social Enterprise Alliance, moderated the panel, which included:

    * André Porter, Executive Director of the Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship;
    * Sarah McKinnon, Business Outreach Coordinator for the Operational Services Division; and
    * Reggie Nunnally,  Executive Director of the Supplier Diversity Office.

The afternoon portion of the forum was a group discussion about what additional support and resources would help existing social enterprises and social purpose businesses grow and would help other providers launch new social enterprises and social purpose businesses. The discussion was facilitated by Marilyn Anderson Chase, assistant secretary for the Office of Children, Youth, and Families.

The Providers' Council will put together a report based on the suggestions and feedback shared at the forum as well as an electronic directory of social enterprises and social purpose businesses that attended. For more information, contact Rachel Lurie.