Norwich Good Economy Commission: Social Enterprise


Established in June 2020, the Norwich Good Economy Commission (NGEC) is a collaboration between the University of East Anglia (UEA), Norwich City Council and other prominent organisations in the city of Norwich. This partnership was established in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic with a view to fostering collaboration between these organisations, identifying the key issues faced by the Norwich economy and its residents, and developing and delivering meaningful solutions to these problems. NGEC currently consists of four workstreams: Social Enterprise, Digital Innovation and Inclusion, Communications, and Skills. 

Task / Brief 

Social Enterprise, organisations which participate in trading activity while also working towards stated social or environmental objectives, is a scene which is not yet widely known about or fully understood by the public or private sectors. 

The first challenge was to gain an internal understanding of the Social Enterprise sector before deciding how to progress with the goal of advancing the scene. This was done by undertaking a wide scoping of Social Enterprise in Norwich. This included surface-level desk- based research on the size of Social Enterprise both regionally and nationally; this was mostly comprised of descriptive statistics about Social Enterprise in the local area. Data was obtained through conducting interviews with social entrepreneurs regarding their organisations. 

Following the completion of this report, the focus turned towards putting together an application to Social Enterprise UK to make Norwich a registered Social Enterprise Place. At the same time, much of the work going towards this would also be put into an updated iteration of the aforementioned scoping report. There was an emphasis on assessing the support that was available to social enterprises and identifying gaps in that support. This was done by interviewing representatives from infrastructural organisations, as well as creating and distributing a survey for social entrepreneurs to gain insight into what support they have accessed in the past and what support they were still in need of.


To date, this work has culminated in two major deliverables. One of which was a lengthy, detailed application to Social Enterprise UK (result pending). This application used figures from the scoping report to describe the scene In Norwich, but also makes a case for why Norwich is a city worthy of being a Social Enterprise hub. 

The other major deliverable was the updated version of the Social Enterprise scoping report (pending release). This has detailed information concerning the social enterprises of Norwich, the structure of the sector, and the challenges they face. Much of this report was drawn upon to create the application. 
The commission, as a whole, now has a greater understanding of Social Enterprise due to the work undertaken. This is something which will be built upon in order to increase awareness not only in the public sector but also in Norwich. 


“The Gateway to Growth interns have always approached their work with the Good Economy Commission with enthusiasm and professionalism. When undertaking research-based tasks, they have successfully gathered the necessary data, conducted analyses and produced high-quality outputs. I have always been impressed with their willingness to engage with topics and methods outside their comfort zones and quickly develop understanding of the work that is required.” 

– Noel Longhurst, Academic Lead, Norwich Good Economy Commission Personal Insights 

“It has been really interesting to work in a role that has been changing as the workstream progresses: from desk research, to conducting interviews, to making a survey, to taking on a larger role in writing sections of the report. This has helped me work on a wide range of skills and the variety of tasks has kept each hour of work I put in as interesting as the last. It has also been particularly enriching for me to be part of something so impactful, especially as I was entrusted with a substantial role in producing the deliverables.” 

– Alfie Botelho, Gateway to Growth Intern