Sunderland is playing host to Social Enterprise Week until December 12.
The city is celebrating social enterprises – businesses that reinvest profit back into a social or environmental cause.
It is hoped the week will help raise the profile of this growing sector and these businesses.
Peter Holbrook, CEO of Social Enterprise UK, said he thought the event was important for Sunderland.
He said: “What we are doing is recognising that across the country there are thriving areas of social enterprise. These businesses put their profits back into the local communities.
“In Sunderland, there has been a great collaboration between Sunderland City Council, the University of Sunderland and the city itself.”
Throughout the week national and local politicians will be visiting social enterprises in Sunderland.
Mr Holbrook added: “These businesses can help support anyone from lonely people in old age, to the youth unemployed. There is a commitment to grow and expand the visibility of these businesses in this wonderful city.”
The event has attracted support from Prime Minister David Cameron, who said: “It’s fantastic that Sunderland is recognised as a Social Enterprise Place – a beacon of social enterprise activity.
“Social Enterprise Week is a great way to raise awareness of the vital and growing role social enterprises play in our economy and local communities in Sunderland and across the country. Social enterprises trade to tackle some of the greatest challenges we face, from unemployment to food waste. The UK is home to the largest and fastest growing social enterprise sector and Sunderland is leading the way.”
The week builds on the recent Social Enterprise Day, a national campaign led by Social Enterprise UK, which took place on November 20, 2014.
That day was designed to boost the number of people and businesses buying from Britain’s 120,000 plus social enterprises.#####