Social Enterprise Action Group

Building on the strong foundations made by the Greater Manchester Social Enterprise Advisory Group, a new Social Enterprise Action Group has been created to drive forward the recommendations for how the GMCA can support a thriving social enterprise sector across our region.

The Greater Manchester Social Enterprise Action Group will work together with GMCA and partners such as the Growth Company and local social enterprise networks to take action around:

Research and Intelligence

Map the status of the sector using existing data

Establish sector metrics and create a ‘thriving social enterprise index’ to measure the economic, social and ethical value of the sector


Encourage public and private sector partners to report spend with social enterprises, and work with them to explore opportunities to increase spending with social enterprises

Explore appetite for social enterprises to develop consortia to bid for and deliver larger contracts together

Identify and promote exemplars of public sector/social enterprise partnerships

Report on the delivery of social value clauses in publicly procured commissions

Market opportunities and investment

Investigate innovative models of social investment and bring together more new partners for innovation, bringing additional investment for social enterprises in GM

Explore how to improve support to social enterprises with accessing investment

Input to the co-design of the proposed GM Community Wealth Hub

Raising awareness

Establish a Greater Manchester social enterprise identity and support uptake to the Social Enterprise UK online directory

Deliver a Greater Manchester ‘Buy Social’ public campaign and recruit Social Enterprise Champions: public sector professionals from each borough who can champion the sector within GMCA and public sector networks

Work with GMCA to get invited to key networks, meetings and events to promote public sector partners to ‘Buy Social’ - in collaboration with our Social Enterprise Champions - and encourage GMCA representatives to attend social enterprise meetings and events

Feedback and questions

Please share your feedback and questions by emailing

Case studies

Greater Manchester is home to thousands of social enterprises - purpose-driven businesses that trade for the common good. Social enterprises exist to address social needs, strengthen communities, improve people’s life chances, enhance culture and protect the environment. Read more about their work: 


The Social Enterprise Action Group has been set up to work with the Mayor of Greater Manchester, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, and the GM Local Enterprise Partnership on the delivery of the ambition for social enterprise in Greater Manchester. It will focus on the actions needed to ‘create the conditions for social enterprises and co-operatives to thrive’ as outlined in the GM Local Industrial Strategy.

The Group meets on a six-weekly basis and brings together a diverse group of social enterprise leaders, together with The Growth Company, the Combined Authority, the GM Social Enterprise Network and Local Access Partnership.

Social enterprises wanting to share questions, views and experiences with the Group are encouraged to contact them on

Chair of GM Social Enterprise Advisory Group

Rose Marley has had an eclectic career. Self-employed from a young age, Rose cut her teeth in the music business during the ‘Madchester’ era before turning her hand to social enterprise, inspired by the lack of social mobility in the creative industries and in search of something more impactful. Rose was the founding COO of Manchester City Council developments The Sharp Project and Space Studios where she was a founding director of award winning social enterprise SharpFutures. This led to Rose becoming the Social Enterprise Advisor to Greater Manchester Labour and Co-operative Mayor, Andy Burnham, and lead for the young person's opportunities card Our Pass.

Rose is renowned for her ability to galvanise community action, not least in leading Manchester City Council’s response to the Manchester arena attack, leading a global broadcast of choirs singing from the steps of the town hall on the first anniversary.

Rose joined Co-operatives UK as CEO in January 2021 and has ambitious plans to raise the awareness and growth of the co-operative sector in the UK.

Follow on Twitter: @RoseMarley1

Appointed Social Enterprise Leaders

Anwar is a multi-award winning social entrepreneur, BAME business leader, Co-Founder and highly motivated CEO of Upturn Enterprise Limited. With over 20 years’ management experience leading teams that make a difference to people, communities and business, Anwar carries extensive academic and professional qualifications. Operationally, he has extensive stakeholder, senior management and project management skills – which is based on 20 years’ successful experience of running multi-functional teams, managing publicly funded projects and developing socially focused business programmes, transforming lives and communities across the Northwest and beyond. Anwar is motivated to solve social challenges and the desire to make a difference to people, supporting communities and delivering a commercial social offer to businesses, stakeholders and supporters.

Website: Upturn Enterprise

Twitter: @Upturn3

David has been working in the community for many years, having managed Platt Bridge Community Zone for 23 years.  In 2013, he founded Abram Ward Community Cooperative, to support a neighbourhood approach to reducing inequalities via the growth of social enterprises and community businesses.  This then expanded borough-wide to support more neighbourhoods, in 2021.  He has created the Made in Wigan initiative, an educational strategy to support a local wealth building model, funded via Power to Change.

Wigan and Leigh Community Charity were successful in leading the campaign for Wigan Borough to become an SEUK Place in 2020.  WLCC also facilitates the Wigan Borough Social Enterprise Network.

Website: Wigan and Leigh Community Charity

Twitter: @wiganandleighcc

Gary has more than 25 years’ experience supporting enterprises to start-up, establish and scale, both in the UK and internationally. As well as running several social investment funds and enterprise development programmes at Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation, Gary is also a Business Mentor for the Prince’s Trust, volunteer at Duke of Edinburgh Award and coaches a junior pan-disability football team.

Gary is a Director/member of the following:

  • Seconded Policy Lead on Social Investment at GMCA
  • Director of the Greater Manchester Community Led Housing Hub
  • Director of Central Rochdale Community Land Trust
  • GM ESF Community Fund Steering Committee
  • Council member at BASE network
  • Greater Manchester Social Enterprise Network Steering Group

Website: Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation

George, after finishing his Master research degree in Social Entrepreneurship, found there was no place to share knowledge and network with like-minded people, so went on to start Manchester Social Entrepreneurs (2014). Since then, the community has grown to +1300 members providing a safe space for people to exchange ideas and network. This has allowed George to work with social entrepreneurs, mainly at idea/early-stage level, but also with established social enterprises.

George’s expertise ranges from business modelling and creating new propositions and revenues to marketing and communications. George also led Wayra's first North accelerator academy, based in Oldham which focused on identify solutions for the “poverty premium” challenge. George led a Horizon 2020 social innovation project, designed and delivered a GM regional innovation programme for GMCA/MIDAS and also designed and delivered “Innovation Labs” for The University of Manchester and the Doctoral Training Partnership.

Website: Manchester Social Entrepreneurs

Follow George Konstantakopoulos on LinkedIn

Hayley has over 25 years’ experience of working in the public, private and third sector supporting individuals and communities. She leads Bolton based social enterprise Starts With You Ltd. As a Greater Manchester social business leader Hayley is committed to supporting, growing and promoting social enterprise and socially responsible business.

Hayley is a founding member of the Bolton Social Business Collective (SBC), lead partner for Bolton in the Local Access Programme and Bolton Representative at the Greater Manchester Social Enterprise Network.

Website: Starts With You

Twitter: @startswithyou1

In Stockport, Jo is the CEO of Sector 3, a network of likeminded organisations who are working together to make the Voluntary, Community, Faith and Social Enterprise Sector stronger and more resilient.

Website: Sector 3

Twitter: @Jo_Sector3

Josh is the founder of the award winning social enterprise Stand4 Socks. A global brand that supports homeless and the UN Global Goals through a buy one give one model, with clients including Facebook, PwC and Oatly. Josh recently featured on the BBC Dragons’ Den taming the Dragons with his story of building a global business from starting on benefits. Although Josh suffers from dyslexia, he puts it down as one of his greatest strengths. Josh is a passionate champion for business for good and entrepreneurship in young people.

Josh is also a member of:

  • Social Enterprise UK
  • School for Social Entrepreneurs Alumni
  • Marketing Academy Scholar
  • New Entrepreneurs Foundation Alumni
  • Good Finance Advisor

Website: Stand4 Socks

Twitter: @Stand4Socks

Kimberly is the founder and CEO of Visit from the Stork CIC. The organisation gives parents the tools and resources they need to achieve a better quality of life for themselves and their children – through education & awareness campaigns, information and support, and family friendly events.

Kimberly is proud to be one of the founding members of Salford Social Enterprise City – the first in the North West to achieve this status.

Website: Visit from the Stork CIC

Website: Be Open On Breastfeeding Salford

Twitter: @kimmeh_007

A Partner in The Connectives, Liz is known for transforming creative ideas into realistic deliverable solutions that grow company value and contribute to social changes.

Liz has worked with enterprises to evaluate culture change, assess social and economic impact and ensure that the voice of the person served informs product or service development. She creates enterprise activity that delivers change in communities and delivers highly effective social impact measurement solutions.

Website: The Connectives

Twitter: @LizBrooksAllen

Stockport born and bred, Nickala is Managing Director of Flourish Together CIC, a social innovation company and network which reinvests surpluses in supporting diverse women as a force for social change.  Nickala has spent over 20 years directly supporting over 2,000 social innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders to create the change they saw to be needed in communities across the UK - predominantly in the North West. Nickala is also a social value specialist.

Listed on WISE100 in 2020 and 2022 as one of the top 100 women in social enterprise nationally, Nickala was awarded Woman of the Year in Social Enterprise in 2019 as part of the Inspiring Women Awards and won a Northern Power Women Award for Innovation in 2021.

Website: Flourish Together

Twitter: @Nickala5

Nile is the founder and CEO of The Blair Project, a disruptive social enterprise that exists to develop the diverse talent pipeline needed to fuel the green revolution through electric motorsport. Nile created, developed and secured funding support for an exciting STEM education programme called the ProtoEV Challenge where youth and adult teams convert used petrol go-karts into fully electric e-karts which they test and race to see which is the fastest and most energy efficient. The project aims to inspire and enthuse the next generation of innovators, technicians, engineers and entrepreneurs, and showcase the importance of education in green tech.

Nile’s company secured £4 million of funding from UK Government for the Manchester Innovation Activities Hub; an industrialisation and electrification skills training centre that will specialise in providing industrial grade equipment for SMEs to prototype new products and services to reach Net Zero. The centre will also focus on rapidly upskilling, reskilling and new skilling Manchester residents in Industry 4.0 skills, to be fast tracked to rewarding jobs within Manchester Science Park.

Website: The Blair Project

Twitter: @getmemotoring

Scott is a leading social entrepreneur and an influential voice in the social business sector, working to enable change in public health services for over 10 years. Formerly a Project Director in NHS Salford for over eight years, delivering innovative, community based programmes to some of the UK’s most deprived neighbourhoods, in 2010 Scott became Chief Executive of Social adVentures and created one of the country’s first NHS Social Enterprises. Scott has also been supporting the Cabinet Office’s public service mutualisation agenda.

In 2011 Scott was one of the UK’s Top 100 Young Social Entrepreneurs. Scott is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Art, Commerce and Manufacturers. He is also chair of a number of leading care social enterprises, including Bevan Healthcare and Global Grooves, a non-profit organisation (NPO) in Tameside.

Website: Social Adventures

Twitter: @ScottDarraugh

Co-opted members

Lisa’s role at GMCA is to drive the delivery of the city-region’s economic strategy and priorities, working with other public agencies, business representative organisations, universities, and business and enterprise communities. Lisa has over 15 years’ experience working in the public and private sectors in strategy, policy and management roles in banking (including as Ethics Advisor to The Cooperative Group), housing, health, cultural, transport and economic policy.  Multiple roles have included developing opportunities for social enterprises to grow, shape new markets and deliver outcomes for communities.

Lisa has a PhD in Business and Innovation from University of Birmingham and also worked as an academic at Alliance Manchester Business School, where her research interests included innovation ecosystems, the role of public procurement in shaping innovation and creating value, and Community Share Offers.

Liz has blended experience of both the corporate and social enterprise sectors which she has used to build new and sustainable enterprises in grassroots communities. 

Liz founded the award-winning Roots Project CIC in Bolton in 2008. Liz now provides freelance social enterprise consultancy and is Project Manager for the Greater Manchester Local Access Programme, supporting the development of stronger, more resilient and sustainable social economies in Bolton, Oldham, Stockport and Wigan.

Previously Liz was an advisor to the former Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG). Alongside continuing to volunteer on many local projects in her native Bolton, Liz sits on the UnLtd Social Enterprise Support Committee and is governors’ Vice Chair at Bolton Academy Trust.

Twitter: @lizdouglas100

Marilyn is an award winning serial social entrepreneur, green tech innovator, leadership coach, board member of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership board and Investment Advisory Committee member for the Big Issue Invest’s Growth Impact Fund.

Marilyn is a director of The Blair Project, a Black-led vocational training provider developing the diverse workforce needed to tackle climate change through the building and racing of electric go karts, and the principal founder of the Black United Representation Network (BURN) CIC which exists to tackle racial inequalities in Greater Manchester. Marilyn’s current areas of focus are inclusive procurement and investment.

Website: GM Local Enterprise Partnership

Website: The Blair Project

Follow Dr Marilyn Comrie OBE on LinkedIn

Mark was appointed as Group Chief Executive of The Growth Company in 2013. Including the Business Growth Hub, Marketing Manchester, MIDAS, and Business Finance Solutions, the Growth Company drives forward GM’s economic agenda and delivers the Greater Manchester Strategy priorities in relation to employment, skills, business support, inward investment, international marketing, the visitor economy, policy development and research.

Formerly Chief Executive of the North West Development Agency, Mark has also held positions with Ernst and Young and DTZ. His Board Directorships have included Central Salford URC, New East Manchester URC and Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus Limited. Mark was awarded an MBE for services to business in the North West in the 2013 New Year’s Honours.

Website: The Growth Company

Matt is the Social Value Lead at the Growth Company, an award-winning social enterprise that drives economic growth through business support, skills development and employment. As the Social Value Lead, Matt is a member of the GM Social Value Steering Group alongside his role within the Social Enterprise Action Group. Matt also leads the Social Value team within the Business Growth Hub that providers fully-funded business support to GM-based organisations on how to identify, generate, monitor and report on social impact.

Matt has spent his entire career within the public and third sectors, delivering community and organisation development projects with focuses on inclusion, wellbeing, skills and capacity building and creating sustainable solutions for many societal issues. Away from his role of Social Value Lead, Matt also supports the Mayor’s Bridge GM campaign and has been an Enterprise Advisor for 3 years.

Follow Matt Richardson on LinkedIn

Twitter: @1MattRichardson

Shaun Fensom has over 30 years’ experience working in and with innovative co-operative businesses. Shaun helped found Cooperative Network Infrastructure, which uses a cooperative model to share fibre and data centres. In the late 80’s Shaun co-founded Poptel, a cooperative and one of the UK’s first Internet Service Providers (ISP). Poptel launched the .coop domain ending in 2001 - now used by cooperatives all over the world. Shaun is a founding director of Manchester Digital, a director of Ethical Consumer magazine, and a co-founder of the Customer Union for Ethical Banking.

Website: Shaun Fensom