In partnership with Coop Culture and Stir to Action we are researching current issues around support available to social enterprises and cooperatives. The research will offer practical solutions that can benefit organisations based in Hackney and East London.

This comes in response to concerns within the sector that support available can be too short-term and often doesn’t respond to the social and economic context at a local level.

The research will help to maximise the potential of Hackney Impact – a new Council-funded partnership delivering a range of hands-on business help in Hackney including one-to-one coaching and mentoring, group courses and networking, and grant funding opportunities.

Our experienced research consultants will provide a robust base of learning and evidence to inform Council decisions. The research will be:

  • Both grassroots and strategic: involving social businesses of varying sizes, to accurately represent the spectrum of social businesses in Hackney. 
  • Outside-in and inside out: ensuring research and evidence from elsewhere is brought in to our findings, as well generating learning to share beyond Hackney.

Findings will be reported in February 2024.

Cllr Nicholson, Hackney Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Delivery and Inclusive Economy, said:

“Whether it’s insourcing council services or supporting socially-conscious business, we want to create a fairer, genuinely inclusive economy in Hackney, which is why we’re supporting the fantastic cooperatives and social enterprises in our borough to grow and thrive.
“This research will make a vital contribution to that goal, helping us do more locally to support socially-focused businesses but also influence funders and policy makers about the wider support these organisations need to thrive.”

John Hitchin at Renaisi said:

“As a local social enterprise, we’re delighted to be involved with this project. While businesses of all types are struggling because of inflation and economic uncertainty, social businesses must also make sure their work continues to benefit people and the planet.
“This research will help the Council develop support so social businesses can thrive in Hackney. Longer term, we hope it encourages other places to better support their social businesses.”

Jonny Gordon Farleigh, Director, Stir to Action, said:

“By investing in this research, Hackney Council is leading the way in establishing the real challenge involved in building a supportive local ecosystem for the growth of social and democratic businesses, particularly in their unique geographical context.
“We’re confident that our recommendations can play a big part in improving the way the public sector supports these businesses, both in Hackney and further afield.”

Nathan Brown, Director, Coop Culture said:

“We hope that Hackney will become a beacon for other boroughs who want to grow and maintain a vibrant co-operative sector”

Get involved

To hear more about the research, email

To sign up to the business support programme you can register here:

Mylene Pacot Research & Evaluation Principal