How was Greenvines started ?
In 2010, three students just graduating from National Taiwan University’s School of Finance worked for a period of time and decided to start Greenvines. The mission of their company is” To sprout a more genuine, healthier lifestyle that sustains.”

Its social impact  

  1. Greenvines revolutionized the agriculture industry and the way that Taiwanese eat by producing the first organic “live sprout” and investing extensive R&D.
  2. The company launched its first organic sprout extract skincare product.They extended their
    belief to personal care products.
  3. Meanwhile, through food/farming education, it is striving to develop a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle for everyone.
  4. In addition, Greenvines also promotes Moringa Oil, a fair trade skin care product from Ghana which helps the growth of the Moringa trees and African farmers build better lives.
  5. As a certified B-Corp, Greenvines published its first benefit report in 2016.The company cares its employers’ welfare. For example, staff have 40 hours off paid off for volunteering every year.

What’s the business model of Greenvines?

In Bloomberg Business Week’s article, Greenvines is described as follows, “Greenvine, the Creator of Chinese Shu Uemura: Entrepreneurs who attempt  to break away from Tradition.”It has not only received widely recognition from the media but numerous awards(more than 50 media reports and 6 project awards from the government). Nowadays it works with over 300 high-quality distribution partners in Taiwan.

Written by Jennie Yen

In Our Hands – Steve Wyler

The story of community business demonstrates enthusiastic support from unlikely places, from radicals and conservatives, from the very poorest in society and from the very richest. It helps us to realise that the strength and endurance of the community business movement is not simply about breadth and scale in the here and now, but that we also have depth and scale in the past. And looking backwards into the history of community business turns out to be a way to help us look forward with greater confidence and hopefulness for the community business movement.

This is a fascinating book written by Steve Wyler OBE who was CEO of Locality until 2014. We have had the pleasure of knowing Steve for many years and learnt a lot from his wisdom and experience. He is up in The North East in early April to bring together activist around A Better Way.
This readable book reminds all of us engaged in civil society that we truly stand on the shoulders of giants. In tracing our history in such an engaging and readable way, Steve Wyler allows us to rethink our future, and in particular to understand the power of mutual support and solidarity in difficult times.

– Julia Unwin, Independent Inquiry into the Future of Civil Society

Special iApps

Special iApps develop educational apps for children with special educational needs, including autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, hearing impairment and other learning disabilities.

Special iApps is based in Durham and was founded by Bev and Colin Dean. Their younger son, William, was born in 2005 with Down syndrome and Hirschsprung’s disease. Bev recognised the potential of devices like the iPad for helping children with learning disabilities, but couldn’t find apps suitable for William, so she asked Colin to start writing some for him.

Special iApps are now growing with social investment and making the most of scale up programmes from UnLtd and the School for Social Entrepreneurs. Bev is a great supporter of the network and the North East Social Enterprise Festival run by Social Enterprise Acumen. They have won numerous awards for their work as tech entrepreneurs as well as for the social impact they are achieving.

Head over to Special iApps for more information

Escama Studio

Escama Studio is a social enterprise based in California and Brazil. Our mission is to create innovative on-trend fashion accessories while promoting sustainable development through trade.

The word ‘Escama’ means ‘fish scales’ in Portuguese; the name was chosen because their flagship product — crocheted accessories with post consumer pull tabs — appear as if they’re made from big metallic scales of a fish.

To achieve their unique aesthetic, the Escama Studio team adapted traditional Brazilian crochet work and imbued the handmade crafts with a modern design sense and new materials. With designs originating from both San Francisco and Brazil, the pop top bags are handmade in Brazil by artisan groups who are not just contract manufacturers, but an integral part of Escama Studio.

Kate Welch brought a bag back from the Social Enterprise World Forum in Rio in 2012 as it is such a great example of a social enterprise that increases its social impact with every bag sold.

Angel Eyes Enterprise CIC

Angel Eyes Enterprise is a community interest company that operates throughout the North East region. They are a service delivered for the visually impaired, by the visually impaired. Their vision is to deliver activities that help dramatically improve the lives of visually impaired people and giving them a sense of value and purpose, allowing them to be part of a more inclusive society. In addition, Angel Eyes Enterprise help to break down the perceptions and difficulties facing visually impaired people by raising awareness and providing information on how businesses can support visually impaired people in the workplace and beyond.


Angel Eyes Enterprise CIC services are tailored for their service users and include:

  • Assistance with job searches, applications and CV writing
  • Providing volunteering and social group opportunities
  • Delivering informal basic level courses on I.T. and technology
  • Delivering sessions on visual impairment awareness for employers
  • Promoting “Access to Work” and other support available for visually impaired employees and employers

The services are available to anyone with a visual impairment over the age of 18 and can cover the areas of Newcastle, Northumberland, Gateshead, Durham, North & South Tyneside and Teeside.

If you’re interested in using this unique service, please contact Jonathan Mears – Project Worker – on 0191 478 5959 or e-mail

Your Chance to Change the World – Craig Dearden-Phillips

Although this book was first published in 2008 it is probably the most useful book for anyone thinking about starting a social enterprise.

The blurb says “So you want to change the world? You know you have the drive and vision, but do you know how to turn your dreams into reality?”

This book offers you valuable, practical advice about how to set up and sustain your own social enterprise. It covers everything from writing your business plan and clarifying your social aims, to raising start-up funding and getting it all under way. With social enterprises now a leading driver of change in society, there’s never been a better time to get started. If you’re feeling the urge to take action don’t wait – seize the day.

This exciting book is for those with passion and ideas for changing the world, but who need a helpful leg-up to making their dreams happen. Yet even established social enterprises will find something new and inspiring in this book.

We have the pleasure of working with Craig on the Department for Culture Media and Sport Mutuals 2 Programme as part of the GoMutual consortium so I can testify to Craig’s expertise and heartily recommend this book.

Kate Welch OBE DL, Chief Executive Social Enterprise Acumen CIC

Community Arts Project North East CIC

Community Arts Project North East CIC is a social enterprise based in South Tyneside.  They work with schools and colleges; local authorities; other social enterprises and community groups to create stories about life in the North East that can be shared with the wider world through broadcasting via their internet based radio station, Hive Radio.

CAPNE are the North East Community Business Ambassadors for Gateshead and South Tyneside for Social Enterprise Acumen.  This role gives them the opportunity to support other community businesses and to create a wider business network within the area.  CAPNE host regular monthly meetings at their base in Bilton Hall Community Trust in Jarrow.  These are open to any community business and address support needs and cover topics suggested by participants.  As a social enterprise it is a useful way to meet with similar organisations and to share experience, ideas, advice and knowledge.

For further information check out:

The Moral Marketplace – Asheem Singh

Enter the world of the social entrepreneur. A global community of doers, thinkers and leaders who mix business with grass-roots activism to make social change possible.

Vinod Kapur created a new breed of chicken that feeds some of the world’s poorest villagers. Betty Makoni empowers young women across Africa through her Girl Child Network. Stephen Burks connects developing world artisans with high fashion brands. They are but three.

In this book, author and activist Asheem Singh explores how a movement of tiny ventures evolved into a global humanitarian and financial juggernaut, revealing new ways to fight privilege and inequality, rewire philanthropy, government and even capitalism itself.

This is a guide to an exhilarating and inspiring world where, through our giving, campaigning and even through our choices as consumers, we can all play a crucial role in taking on the biggest social challenges of our time

“The stories in this book show a way forward that really will change things.”

Kate Welch OBE DL, Chief Executive Social Enterprise Acumen CIC

Burn Night Ceilidh

Newcastle and North Tyneside Branch, YMCA Newcastle are hosting a Burns Night Ceilidh.
Put on your dancing shoes and a splash of tartan for a night of dancing and Burns themed canapes.

Friday 26th January at Walker Park Cafe

An ode’ and a knee’s up to the Scottish National Bard, who’s statute has been in the Park since 1901. Erected as a commemoration of his visit 1787.

A Burns inspired celebration of all things poetry and distilled. A blend of both Burns and locally inspired poetry.
The evening includes Burns themed canapes and cocktail on arrival.
A traditional ceilidh band, The Blind Stag will have us dancing the night away. Their caller will guide us through the steps, so don’t worry if you’ve never been to a ceilidh.
We will be showcasing local distilleries and brewers.
Raffle and prizes on the night.
Dress: Smart casual with a flash of tartan.
Full bar and catering available.


Book tickets