Today I learned something new and encouraging from an article in The Guardian (in contrast to the distress it caused me yesterday).  On Wednesdays the paper has a Society section which basically looks at social issues, tending to relate to the public and voluntary sectors.  I usually only manage to read through it briefly, but starting from today I no longer work on Wednesdays so I have the prospect of possibly getting to read a whole newspaper on the day it came out.  So today, while my poorly daughter is watching ‘Madagascar’ I found time to read the main story in this section, which had caught my eye because it relates to social enterprise.

The story covers social enterprises and cooperatives in Spain, looking particularly at an exciting new development in the Basque region of Spain for the world’s first ‘social Silicon Valley’, a business park for social enterprise.  The most encouraging part of the article for me was the idea that “out of the ashes of this economic collapse will come more equitable ways of doing business”.  Fernandez Isiord, one of the innovators behind the project, is quoted as saying that

First, we have to democratise companies, then we have to build the organisation on principles and values so they become part of the community and part of the solution to tackling social problems.

The bit that I love the most comes right at the end though.  He goes on to say that if you trace the root of the word “companies” to it’s Latin root you find that it derives from a phrase meaning “to share the bread”.  How cool is that as a business model?!

If you’re interested in social enterprise, SocietyGuardian has more here.