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Social Enterprise Knowledge Exchange Network (SEKEN)

SEKEN promotes social enterprise and social entrepreneurship, through peer networking knowledge exchange, awareness raising events, research, and workshops, for new and existing small and micro social enterprises. 

St Mary’s University - partnering with third sector, public sector organisations and Richmond Borough Council to build a collaborative and coordinated approach to research, support of the development social enterprises.

Who SEKEN supports

Individuals, students, community groups and organisation that are looking to start up or grow businesses with primarily social/environmental objectives, whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or community rather than mainly being paid to shareholders and owners.

Our network comprises over 300 individuals and stakeholders all with a vested interest in social enterprise. We run and facilitate networking events, research symposiums, seminars and workshops throughout the year.  Members of the network are added to our mailing list and are the first to receive notifications of upcoming events.  Membership and almost all events are free. 

Helping you understand the value of social enterprise for social, environmental and economic benefit. Share in local, national and international expertise and knowledge, and access to research in social enterprise.

The Social Enterprise Guide

Research and publications

  • Czarczyńska, A. (2017). Stakeholders’ Strategic Thinking for Sustainable Development. In Technology, Society and Sustainability (pp. 361-371). Springer, Cham.
  • Doyle, G. J. (2019). Socializing Economic Development in Ireland: Social Enterprise–An Untapped Resource. In Handbook of Research on Value Creation for Small and Micro Social Enterprises (pp. 168-187). IGI Global.
  • Doyle, G. (2019). A new era for reuse social enterprises in Ireland? The capacities required for achieving sustainability. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 149, 65-74.
  • Maher, C. (2020). Career Needs and Career Values: the Mediating Role of Organisational Culture. In Recent Advances in the Roles of Cultural and Personal Values in Organizational Behaviour (pp. 240-260). IGI Global.
  • Maher, C. (2019). Public Policy and the Sustainability of Third Sector Social Enterprises. International Journal of Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Corporate Social Responsibility (IJSECSR), 4(1), 42-56.
  • Maher, C. (2018a) Understanding Managerial Career Anchors and Career Path Preferences: A Case Study of Third Sector Social Enterprise Managers. Scholar’s Press.
  • Maher, C. (2016). ‘Career anchors of social enterprise managers in the UK – an empirical analysis’, J. International Business and Entrepreneurship Development, Vol. 9, No. 4,pp.398–416.
  • Maher, C. (Ed.). (2018b). Handbook of Research on Value Creation for Small and Micro Social Enterprises. IGI Global.
  • Maher, C. (2017). Implications for Small Third Sector Social Enterprises in UK Regions. Handbook of Research on Entrepreneurial Ecosystems and Social Dynamics in a Globalized World, 126.
  • Maher, C. (2015a). Public Policies Impact on Third Sector Social Enterprises in UK Regions. Handbook of Research on Entrepreneurial Success and its Impact on Regional Development, 246-266.
  • Maher, C. (2015b). Social enterprise manager's career path preferences. International Journal of Globalisation and Small Business, 7(1), 59-72.
  • Watson, E. S., & Roberts, P. (2019). Applying a Cross-Cultural Health Systems Strengthening Diagnostic Tool: The Experiences of a Small Social Enterprise Delivering Health Care Services in England. In Handbook of Research on Value Creation for Small and Micro Social Enterprises (pp. 46-74). IGI Global.

Find out more

For further information about SEKEN, or if you would like to attend a SEKEN event, please contact

SEKEN events

The workshop was delivered by Helen Roberts Founder & Managing Director CPG Executive Consulting Ltd & Start Up Richmond. Helen is passionate about helping people to become the best they can be, doing what they love. Helen is an entrepreneur in her own right and has worked with all levels of business including corporate entities, small and medium sized enterprises and Start Ups.

View full event information

Guest speakers at this event included:

  • Dr Carla Gomes da Costa: Ismat University, Portugal
  • Melissa Tilling: Chief Executive and Founder of Charitable Travel, the first ‘mainstream’ travel company to be launch as a social enterprise in the UK
  • Precious Sithole: Chief Executive and Founder of Social Practice ENT a not for profit accounting and consultancy social enterprise, built on social justice principles
  • Dr Chi Maher - St Mary’s University, Twickenham, London

View full event information

This workshop was be delivered by Lizette van Niekerk. Lizette has been leading fundraising and marketing teams in the charity sector for thirteen years. She was also a Visiting Lecturer for the MA Charity Management Programme at St Mary’s University for six years.

Lizette now runs consulting firm JavisFields Ltd advising charities and small companies on how to get the best out of their data protection policies. She is a member of the International Association of Privacy Professionals, the Direct Marketing Association and the Institute of Fundraising.

This workshop explores:

  • Practical ways that individuals and community groups can develop their entrepreneurial ideas.
  • Funding opportunities available to community-run businesses and cooperatives.
  • Richard Harries: Director of the Power to Change Research Institute
  • Stu Thomason: CEO of Business Launchpad

The workshop covered how to:

  • Establish the objectives you want to achieve
  • Assess your business environment including opportunities, threats etc.
  • Formulate and implement a strategy to get started
Facilitator: Paul Shaw

Senior consultant at Business Doctors, a national network of advisers that help the owners on small and medium sized enterprises grow their business and achieve their vision.

Delegates talking to each other
Delegate taking notes
Panel listening to question
Delegates talking to each other
Delegates greeting each other
Speaker presenting at the event
Speaker addresses the audience

The workshop covered:

  • An overview of what micro enterprise is (a micro enterprise is small, simple and fast to start up and can be run by anyone)
  • What the difference is between a micro enterprise and other types of businesses
  • The benefits of starting a micro enterprise
  • Planning your ideas
  • First steps
Facilitator: Helen Roberts

Entrepreneur with 20 years’ experience,  MD of CPG Executive Consulting Ltd and Founder & MD of Start-up Richmond.