There are 3 different ways that bigger providers can help micro enterprises:
1. A larger care provider supports people who use their services to set up their own micro enterprises.
2. Staff who work for bigger organisations may see an opportunity to start up something that complements what they do at work, but is separate from it. Here, they are taking responsibility for the new micro enterprises, but their employer is helping it get underway.
3. A bigger organisation takes a ‘micro enterprise approach’ to what they do, such as having small teams that work with a lot of independence.
The bigger organisation could welcome ideas for new activities from a wide range of people:
• People you know, including staff and people who use the services
• Staff and volunteers
• Partner organisations
• Community groups and others in local areas
• Staff in planning and commissioning roles in the Council and NHS.
If you are giving a base to a micro enterprise or helping in other ways, work from the beginning on the basis that the bigger organisation is not going to run the new venture and there will soon be an independent micro enterprise. Reflect this in the practical arrangements such as the micro enterprise having an independent identity and the people running the new activity being responsible for expenditure and decisions.
Build relationships with people who will help the new venture; this can be a mix of people inside and outside the host organisation.
Help with access to small amounts of money to get the new activity going can have a big impact.
Ways of working that help bigger organisations to work in more flexible ways include:
• Encouraging staff to work in innovative ways
• Giving staff scope and responsibility to work in flexible ways
• Good management support to people taking on that role
• Being good at partnership working with key stakeholders within both services and communities
• Financial systems that let staff know how much they can spend and letting them make most of the day-to-day spending decisions
• Linking to changes that are happening anyway, such as service redesign or when a service needs to move location.
Many of the Men’s Sheds started when another organisation noticed a gap and helped people get the Shed underway. These include local authorities, large national voluntary organisations and groups servicing the whole community.
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