Stepping Out NOW            December 2013
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'The only way to beat austerity is grow your way out of it'

These words were spoken by a delegate from one of over 50 spin-out business who attended our 'Serious About Growth' conference held at Nesta and sponsored by Bridges Ventures.

Delegates heard from Jerome Mayhew, Managing Director of Go-Ape Ltd, David Royce, the founder of Crime Reduction Initiatives and Brett Wigdortz of Teach First about how they had grown small acorns into mighty oaks.

The key messages from all the speakers were:
  1. The importance of an inspiring, motivating vision and clear organisational values
  2. The vital role of a business plan that is regularly updated
  3. The development of a brilliant top team to augment the early leadership of the business. 
  4. The development of a 'make it happen', 'can do' culture among staff 
  5. The importance of really good financial management and planning.
To help emerging spin-outs, Stepping Out have just published a new guide called 'Serious About Growth' and you can download it for free here.

We also want to congratulate our first ever client Provide (formerly Central Essex Community Services) for their success this year in the National Business Awards, the Social Enterprise UK Awards and the Baxendale Awards. We are so proud of you and the inspiration you offer.

Have a great Christmas and New Year!

- Craig
On the sofa…

This month the hills are alive with the sound of Jo Douglas at Allied Health Professionals, Suffolk! Read more>>


Ask the Expert
Do social investors see spin out businesses as a genuinely backable opportunity?

There are some real attractions for social investors in investing in public sector spin out businesses.  These are businesses that manage to achieve some scale immediately – having an initial contract in place means they have an established revenue stream.  What also often stands out is that they have motivated management teams in place who have displayed some commercial discipline (in making the case to spin out) and have a real focus on the social impact they are trying to achieve.

The difference between investing in a mutual – compared to other types of business – is the involvement of the employees.  That’s an important structural difference that can be attractive to investors because you have a level of commitment to the business running through the frontline staff team as well as the management team.  That has the potential to make it a lower risk investment opportunity.  

Investors do see risks in investing in spinouts when there is only a single contract in place.  Whilst it is good to have a customer, it’s not good to have just one customer.  The challenge is working out how to diversify from the initial core contract over a period of time so that if the initial customer disappears the business will remain sustainable.

There is also a cultural shift required amongst the management team who will need to develop more commercial awareness and focus. If genuinely open to learning and challenge,it can be quite easy to address those weaknesses by bringing non-executives onto the Board with relevant skills and experience. 

Daniel Brewer, Founder & Managing Director, Resonance

Good reads:

If you haven’t read it yet, take a look at the powerful Guardian 50 Voices of Social Enterprise, which includes our very own Craig Dearden-Phillips

Nick Temple talks about partnering with the private sector
Pioneers Post has some interesting takes on investment and asset locks

Finding new ways to challenge the private sector

Bridges and walkways, not more models and engines

Foolproof pitching tips from an impact investor

Congratulations Provide for winning not one, not two but three awards in the last month!

And to City Healthcare Partnership for being nominated at the Social Enterprise Awards

Congratulations to Sarah Stock and her team at Independence Matters who went live on the 4th of November!

Watch this space

Craig Dearden-Phillips is on the board chaired by Professor Ham for the review into the possible Health Service applications for employee ownership. Read what Norman Lamb has to say about it here.



The Challenge and Promise of Employee-Ownership in 21st Century

Strategies and models for growth

Women Leaders Series: Leading Organisations
Season's greetings from everyone at Stepping Out!
Support and investment to grow your business
Stepping Out is an approved provider for the Investment and Contract Readiness Fund. If you are looking for support to grow your social business contact us 07887 414042 or

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