13 years ago I posted my first blog about my ideas relating to the much hyped (and sometimes fetishized) legal structure for social enterprises, the Community Interest Company.
But I've been interviewed about CICs for other people's podcasts and blogs since before that (2006 seems to be the earliest reference I can find to my name or voice in someone else's on-line space!)
And in all of these posts, there's a bit of a common thread: a concern that this legal form may not be everything that most people make it out to be, and understand it can do for you - and how the Regulator for them may not always be that au fait with them either! And all of these positions are based on multiple published sources of evidence and research.
Every conversation I've subsequently had with individual social entrepreneurs and/or social enterprises about this form ends up the same way: with those people asking why anyone would ever want to be one?
But over the years this 'open questioning' about what the actual benefit and relevance of the CIC form might be hasn't been without fall-out: I've seen people professionally attack my reputation, sector bodies unofficially blacklisting me, and some regulatory bodies opening files on me...
Yet the edict of "CICs are great - keep setting yourself up as one" seems to have continued over this intervening 15 year period. Until now.
Because now, national social enterprise media are starting to share the data from the CIC Regulator that I've been looking at over the years, and like me, starting to ask questions about how fit for purpose this form really is. You can read the full Pioneers Post feature over on their website (https://www.pioneerspost.com/news-views/20220812/community-interest-company-closures-72-latest-financial-year), but I've collated their key charts from the piece below which seems to reveal something of a trend - even allowing for "pandemic exceptions" that might otherwise be skewing the data:
* the number of CICs being wound up each remain seems to remain pretty steady at around 12-15% of all all CICs - which suggests that there's a consistent notable proportion of people who are adopting this form, only to realise it doesn't work for them;
* the growth rate in CICs seems to be falling over time.
Which take me back to the title of this post - despite not being a qualified solicitor or statistician, it appears that everything I've ever posted, and talked about, in relation to this legal form has been right after all!
But so what? I'm still hearing lots of people who are being wrongly advised about this legal form and what it can offer them, despite all the evidence and research to the contrary that I've been openly sharing for over a decade.
This is perhaps where you can help, as the reader of this post - please consider sharing it to your contacts and networks through social media, etc: not as any form of endorsement of my ideas, but in hopes of continuing to widen and further this conversation....