1.2 Existing networks
Social enterprise networks (SENs) exist locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Their members are connected either by geography (for example, region or municipality), theme (arts or recycling), social mission (employability or tackling loneliness), or a combination of these.
Joining a local network will help you to network and connect with social enterprises and entrepreneurs in your area who you might not already be aware of. It will also help you influence local decision-makers, including political representatives, local councillors, council officers and local media, to make them aware of your successes, needs and ideas.
National networks bring together all types of social enterprises and supporters under one umbrella to network, campaign, exchange ideas, and help shape the social enterprise movement in that country. Membership to a national network can give you a voice in national policymaking and government decisions which affect your enterprise and the sector more widely.
SENs which have a national or international focus give their members more visibility on the global stage, allowing them to connect with members from a range of countries worldwide and improving access to international collaborations and projects.
How do I find social enterprise networks to join?
A quick google search for social enterprise networks in your area (local, national), or within your theme/sector, will provide you with a starting point for some research into what networks you might consider joining. See the links below for ViSENet informative documents about the social enterprise networks you might consider joining internationally, within Europe and nationally.
The ViSENet International Network of Rural Social Enterprises is a network for rural social and/or community enterprises, and can be found at this link: