Since 2013, Legal & General has been supporting social enterprises with the Social Enterprise (SE) Assistant social investment fund, and to date we have offered 44 investments totalling over £1 million. But 2020 has been especially challenging, with the Covid-19 pandemic putting huge pressure on businesses and, therefore, local communities.
We believe our support can and should go even further in these challenging times, so we partnered with the Social Enterprise Academy Wales to offer a one-day Enterprising Leadership programme to our SE Assist portfolio of businesses in Wales as well as the wider Wales social enterprise network in September, bringing some of the most innovative business minds in Wales together. “The Social Enterprise Academy delivers leadership and enterprise programmes across the breadth of Wales, which have a really positive impact on local communities, and also helps empower the people in those communities to realise their full potential by providing the right training and the right support needed to run their business,” explains Lynne Sheehy, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Legal & General.
“The Social Enterprise Academy is going to provide people running those businesses huge value, enabling them to be upskilled, providing the right support and the right training that those people need to develop, sustain and run those businesses in the local community,” says Sheehy. “These organisations are seen as vital in driving the regeneration of communities, creating much-needed job opportunities and a vibrant, diverse and inclusive local economy.”
Our desire to drive diversity and inclusion in local businesses is already prominent in Wales, where our Cardiff Diversity & Inclusion Committee has been recognised as Responsible Business Champions in Diversity & Inclusion by Business in the Community Cymru, for the second year in a row. This is especially important in 2020, where Covid-19 has exacerbated existing societal inequalities.
“The Committee has brought its national commitment to diversity and inclusion to life locally by listening to its people, understanding their views, taking suggestions and then designing and implementing a compelling diversity and inclusion strategy, specifically to address the areas of interests to the Cardiff team,” explains Jenny Atkinson, Chair of the Legal & General Cardiff Diversity & Inclusion Committee. The strategy includes celebrating Black History Month, International Women’s Day, Pride Cymru, The Menopause Exchange, World Mental Health Day and LGBT History Month.