ASSETS – Assisting Social Enterprises to Succeed
ASSETS is a seven-month business support programme for social enterprises in the construction industry supply chain aiming to scale their operations and secure larger contracts.
ASSETS programme is part of our long-term strategic commitment to supporting social enterprises (SEs), outlined in our social value strategy, Creating Opportunities.
Working together with the Impact Hub we established ASSETS in 2021 as a pilot business mentoring programme to help social or environmental impact-driven suppliers to improve their readiness to scale up and successfully compete UK-wide. The programme will ‘support five social enterprises to achieve national scale by 2025’.
As more businesses recognise the benefits of using supply chain partners that trade to invest their profits into a social or environmental purpose, (such as employing people furthest from the workforce or reusing surplus timber) demand may start to outstrip supply. There are very few SEs working in the built environment specifically, so much of our spend is currently focused on office supplies or cleaning services.
To achieve greater impact and encourage more built environment SEs, our Creating Opportunities Social Value strategy set an objective to help five SEs achieve national scale by 2025. The ASSETS programme, which we launched in 2021, was our response to this challenge and we are about to launch the fourth cohort.
Established as a seven month pilot, ASSETS is a business mentoring programme for SEs in which Wates collaborates with Impact Hub, specialists in scaling SEs. The programme was designed to drive scale within the SE sector by supporting organisations to develop and begin to implement growth plans, with the support of Wates mentors and insights from expert led workshops.
17 SEs have been supported through the programme to date
Each SE is partnered with three mentors from Wates, and from 2023 our partner Travis Perkins Group, who supported them to analyse their businesses, and to build the knowledge and confidence to expand. The SEs also participate in expert-led workshops on topics such as digital marketing, leader resilience and growth mindset as well as regular peer to peer sessions. The programme culminates in a celebration event.
The programme has led to new contracts for the SEs with Wates and other organisations, and will be delivered again in 2024.
Giving opportunities to social enterprises
“I am able to stand back and gain a clearer perspective. It’s also been really helpful to have other people’s opinions on the strengths and weaknesses of the business, it’s built a greater understanding for me of where we can improve and where we know we are doing well.”
“I found it a really useful insight into understanding the challenges SEs face with limited resources. I most enjoyed using my experience to help provide a different perspective to approaching these challenges. I would definitely recommend it.”
Wates mentor Dave Saville
Regional Director for Construction
“Co-delivering the ASSETS programme with Su and Wates has been a great experience for us. The pilot was a success and we are currently analysing the impact measurement results to improve the programmes design for 2022.