North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA) and Power to Change launched a strategic partnership in 2022 with the objective of growing and further developing the social economy in the North of Tyne. This partnership is reviewing the nature and scale of the social economy in the North of Tyne and exploring ways to promote and further develop activity to support it, including investment in a new Social Finance Fund by NTCA and other external partners.
As a first step, the partnership launched a call for evidence with the aim of understanding the current context for the social economy, including details of any support available to socially trading organisations (STOs), the nature and scale of any current activity, and the likely local pipeline of such organisations. A key aim was to explore the sector’s appetite for innovative financial products including loans and equity to support organisations starting-up, innovating and scaling-up.
Responses provided valuable insight, including references to research, evaluations and case studies. These will inform how to co-design, with the sector, an innovative new finance initiative to grow the social economy. More than 40 representatives from the sector and a panel of speakers including the Metro Mayor of North of Tyne, discussed a summary of key findings at an open event in Newcastle on 13 June, hosted by Insights North East at Newcastle University.
Along with providing some background to the call, the respondents and their evidence, this report draws out the main themes and insights that emerged and identifies any gaps in knowledge, to support the next stage of the co-design process.