SEUK’s The Hive to be a beacon for ethical business


London is recognised as being home to one of the largest global communities of highly evolved and impactful social enterprises – and now Social Enterprise UK is looking to cement that status with the launch of The Hive.

The Capital is also home to one of the world’s most dynamic and well populated ecosystem of investors, financiers, socially discerning consumers and a hub of new social and environmental thinking.

With the announcement of London’s Hive, membership and lobbying body SEUK, along with The School for Social Entrepreneurs, CAN and the Impact Hub Kings Cross are hoping to secure the long-term future of the social enterprise movement here in London.

“This is a unique collaboration to address London’s growing inequality and declining social mobility. It will provide hope and opportunity to many young people who have only ever known austerity and worsening public services,” said Social Enterprise UK CEO Peter Holbrook.

“It is time to proactively take control of this situation and protect the heritage of the sector by entering this market collaboratively in a more ambitious and creative way than ever before.” There are 20,000 social enterprises in London and half of these are less than five years old. They offer a dynamic, valuable and hopeful contribution to our city and national economy and yet are fundamentally hidden from view.

“Our market research has given us the confidence to acquire a building that will achieve the highest standards of environmental performance, and is refurbished, built or re-developed with a commitment to creating the best job opportunities to those that really need them,” said Mr Holbrook.

“We are creating a building which will bring incubation space for high impact enterprises, a social finance laboratory and office space for larger social businesses ensuring their rental costs can be recycled into furthering public benefit” adds Richard Evans, Chair of the Impact Hub Kings Cross.

The Hive will be a mixed-use building, or campus-style combination of buildings, of up to 50,000ft2 in London and will become a centre of social excellence and creativity for the world’s leading social enterprises and businesses.

The Hive would also accommodate lectures, meetings and events, studios for creative and cultural social enterprises, retail space for social enterprise caterers, artisan and craft manufacturers. Social enterprise models can help equip many of London’s most challenged communities with the tools and ideas to achieve greater social and economic prosperity.

Through housing leading and progressive social enterprises The Hive will positively impact the most under-served communities while supporting businesses and entrepreneurs to grow and thrive for the good of our city, country and world.

“The Hive has been born to grow the impact of social business and help solve our city’s and our world’s most urgent and complex problems,” said Mr Holbrook.

“It is the answer to a host of challenges, not least, one of the greatest barriers to growth and productivity – increasing rents squeezing social enterprises out of good locations.”

“It will be the centre for global entrepreneurship in the 21st century and beyond. A place where social enterprises working closely together will support each other to magnify each other’s impact on society” comments Alastair Wilson, Chief Executive of the School for Social Entrepreneurs.

The Hive brings together world class ideas and institutions, who are each leaders in their fields, to model a different form of business and a kinder more inclusive form of capitalism.

Andrew Croft, Chief Executive of CAN states: “Together we will create a physical ecosystem that includes access to skills, training, mentoring, maker space and co-working solutions, access to finance, start-up acceleration and incubation, influence and the biggest physical network of social enterprises of anywhere in the world.”

The Hive concept has been market tested, potential investors have been engaged, partners have been recruited and interest from social enterprises, start-ups and others has been ignited.

Mr Holbrook continues: “We now need to build a diverse support and partnership base as well as corporate partners, developers and suppliers in order to bring to life something which is a truly global flagship; something which demonstrates London’s worldwide leadership in social enterprise and investment. This venture creates extraordinary opportunities for our partners.”

“We can build a fairer economy in London that promotes social mobility, opportunity and hope – right across London’s most challenged communities and disengaged neighbourhoods creating a long-term legacy and impact.”

“The Hive’s flagship building will be a visible sign, a beacon of hope in our city for the future of business.”

“London needs this, we need you. Please think about how you can join us.”