Issue date: 17 November 2004

Academics at the University of the West of England are to host a one-day seminar on ‘The Social Economy’ which is funded by the ESRC on Friday 19 November at Burwalls Conference Centre Leigh Woods, Bristol.

The conference entitled ‘Exceptional Actors in Community Regeneration’ is the first of two conferences on the theme of social entrepreneurs. Speakers will include academics from UWE and other universities as well as representatives from local government, the voluntary sector and other organisations.

Dr Dimitrios Christopoulos, who organised the conference said, “The social economy accounts for more than five percent of the Bristol economy GDP and ten percent of employment. But most significantly it fosters the development of civic traditions and the formation of social capital in the city. This conference aims to explore the role and incentives of civic agents in the third sector. These actors promote public welfare by involvement in innovative community projects, self-sustainable enterprises or novel training techniques. To allow for a more informed public policy in the field we are binging together a number of experts and practitioners to examine the motivation, structural constraints and available opportunities of social entrepreneurs.”

The first panel session entitled: Social Entrepreneurs: Agents of civic Community includes speakers: Sue Milner, (University of Bath); Sue Cooper, (Triodos); Dimitrios Christopoulos, (University of the West of England); Paola Grenier, (London School of Economics).

A round table discussion entitled: Bristol City Council and Social Economy Policies includes speakers: Anthony Plumridge (Chair, UWE); Ted Fowler and Martin Summers (Bristol City Council) Anthony Austin; Helen Moss (Greater Bristol Foundation); Steve Knapp (BACEN); Lucy Findlay (RISE).

A further panel discussion covers the role of the voluntary sector in the social economy, and this will be followed by a wide ranging discussion of the social economy in the South West of England.

Full details of the conference and speakers and/or a report of the proceedings are available from Dr Dimitrios Christopoulos on 0117 328 2706 or email

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