How to raise money for your Social Enterprise

Looking for capital? In collaboration with Impact Hub Westminster, I’m running their first ever Impact Investment Readiness programme. We designed it to help social entrepreneurs find impact investment within the next 12 months. participants-2-500x500

In October 2014, we took our first cohort through the programme (pictured above), and got some great feedback.  If you are a social enterprise based in London, you can apply for the free programme until December 1st 2014.

Below you’ll find just a taste of some of the skills, tips and tricks that the #SocEnt startups were able to learn, and put into practice on the programme.

Play at the right level

You’ve heard of crowdfunding, you’ve watched Dragon’s Den, and you know you could get a loan from the bank. But which is right for you now?

Paul Grant talks about the different levels of the funding game. Continue reading

The Best Social Enterprise Tour of East London

If you are looking for the best free self-guided tour of East London, this is my recommended route. I recently worked with the British Council to guide a group mostly Hong Kong citizens around some of the best social enterprises in London. A great group NGO workers, academics, and social entrepreneurs. Get in touch via the comments if you’d like take this tour with me.

FoodCycle

Bromley By Bow FoodCycle is a charity social enterprise that combines volunteers, surplus food and spare kitchen spaces to create tasty, nutritious meals for people at risk of food poverty and social isolation.

We stopped for a talk from Helena Chouchani to learn more about their growing number of FoodCycle Hubs across the UK, and franchising plans for expansion. Of course we stayed for a yummy lunch too!

Bikeworks

Bethnal Green Bikeworks runs a variety of community cycling programmes including employability for disadvantaged groups, all ability cycling, bicycle reuse and recycling, school cycle training and more. As a business it provides cycling services to consumers and organisations – so buy your next bike from here!

We were lucky to have a private tour from co-founder Jim Blakemore. He talked about the entrepreneurial journey, and how their social outcomes can continue to grow as the business grows.

Hackney Pirates

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Wharton Business School, irresponsible travel, and how you can have fun and do good at the same time.

Recently I was interviewed for the Wharton Business Radio Show, Dollars and Change.

It’s great to see a leading, Ivy League University putting resources into developing social impact initiatives like this.

As it’s a paid-for service, I can’t link to the actual 30 minute interview, but I’ve put details at the bottom of this article as to how you can sign up for a free trial if you’d like to listen.

What I can do is share four interesting points that came up from the interview.

Question: We’ve heard about your Beer-to-Beer Social Enterprise Learning Journey. This sounds amazing. We want to join. Can you tell us a bit more about it?

Answer: As I’ve said before, your friends are amazing, but you don’t always have the chance to learn from them.  Sure, you can go out with them for a beer on a Friday night, but why not go out on a fun journey with them, and actually learn something new at the same time?

That’s what the Impact Hub Crawl is all about. Not just peer-to-peer learning, but Beer-to-Beer learning!  Here’s a video to explain more from my last Impact Hub Crawl, Beer-to-Beer social enterprise learning experience:

Question: Surely, some people just want “irresponsible” experiences. Are people really interested in responsible travel experiences? 

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Your Friends are Amazing – 3 ways to Learn From Them

At the end of this month, I’m running the Impact Hub Crawl – In a warm up to this peer-to-peer (beer-to-beer!) learning event, I wanted to share with you three ways to learn from your friends.

 1) Teach to Learn

When I was a teacher in Japan, the joke was always – “Who learns the most in school?” “The teachers!”. OK, that’s not something that our global education systems should be proud of, but in traditional education it’s true.

Why is this true? Because to be able to teach something well, you have to know it really well. And if you know you have to teach it, you’ll really concentrate when you are learning it! What could you teach your friends?

Who's really learning here?

Who’s really learning here?

“We Learn…

10% of what we read
20% of what we hear
30% of what we see
50% of what we see and hear
70% of what is discussed with others
80% of what is experienced personally
95% of what we teach to someone else”
William Glasser

2) Make and Spend Time with Them

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Join the Award Winning Impact Hub Crawl this month and #SparkSomeGood

I want to help you get started in Good Business. In work that makes the world better.

And if you’ve already started in good business, I want to support you to learn from your friends and peers. Some call this peer-to-peer learning. But this is Inspiring Adventures, and we call it beer-to-beer learning*!

And so, on Friday June 27th, you can:

Join the Impact Hub Crawl – The CoWorking, CoWalking, Social Adventure!

 

I’m very happy to announce that I’ve been given the social enterprise Spark Award by a fantastic organisation called UnLtd. It’s their mission to support social entrepreneurs too.

UnLtd Award Winner

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How to Start a Social Enterprise From Anywhere in the World

You want to start a company that makes the world a better place. How are you going to do that, then? I’ll tell you how. And I won’t just tell you how to start one in the UK, I’ll tell you how to do it in Myanmar too. And if you can do it in Myanmar, I’m pretty sure you can do it anywhere in the world.

1. Join a community.

I love coworking spaces. I love to visit and work from new ones in new countries. In London, I spend most of my time in Impact Hub Westminster, and I’m even on their website as a coworking lifeguard.

Joining a supportive community is a vital ingredient in your start-up success, so do it! Where else are you going to make friends that get you through your hard times, and help you celebrate your wins?  Check what’s around you and go for a look, or join a tour of coworking spaces in London.

Project Hub Yangon

What do you do if no community exists? You start one. That’s exactly what Allison Morris (pictured above), and Pete Silvester did with Project Hub Yangon. The space launched in 2013, but the community building work really began when the pair hosted Global Entrepreneurship Week in Myanmar in 2012. They hoped that Project Hub Yangon would become a place for like-minded people to discuss ideas, work on projects and create businesses. That’s exactly what’s happened.

Finding new members, and managing the space are the daily battles of every coworking space, but their vision has become a reality. In their first year, as well as hosting the space for members with local space manager Zar Chi, they supported 5 local start-ups through a sponsored incubation program.

“It’s still a lot of work, but it’s worth it to support the local entrepreneurial ecosystem.” Allison Morris, Co-founder.

When I got there, they’d just installed their third independent internet connection, to deal with Myanmar’s notoriously unpredictable service. It was one of the fastest I found in Yangon. They’ve even got a an emergency battery that keeps the wi-fi going even when all the other electricity goes out!

If you’ve got some work or research to do while you are in Yangon, definitely check it out.

2. Get Support.

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My Top 3 Restaurants in East London

Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, Old Street

The chefs at Jamie Oliver's Fifteen restaurant

The chefs at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant

I promise not all my recommendations will be social enterprises, but I had to include at least one, and Fifteen is the most famous example in London. Operating since 2002, this restaurant takes 15 disadvantaged young people per year through a 12 month apprenticeship, in the skills of becoming a chef.

The food is modern British, and scrumptious. For our large group, we were served sharing plates for mains. Passing these meaty plates around added to the feeling of being with your extended family during the holidays. Dessert was fantastic, with the chocolate mousse sticking in mind as especially delicious.

Being associated with a high-profile figure like Jamie Oliver of course helps to promote the restaurant, and also promote the whole idea that a restaurant can be used for good. All profits from the restaurant are donated to the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation Charity, and over 350 students have now graduated from the three Fifteen restaurants in London, Cornwall and Amsterdam.

Cay Tre, Shoreditch Continue reading

How to spend a day in East London – Eat, Drink and Find Street Art, featuring the Amazing WordPress Theme Team

You’re one of the best designers for WordPress themes in the world, your work is downloaded and used by millions of people a month, and you usually work at home in your pyjamas. Now you’ve have a free day in London.  What do you do?  The first thing is get dressed. The second is call me. Inspiring Adventures helped some of the guys that run WordPress.com have a great day out in London.  Read on to find out exactly how you can have a fun time in London too, with your clothes on, of course.

More than 73 million people currently use WordPress.com to run their website, and 387 million people view WordPress.com hosted websites every month. This Inspiring Adventures site runs through WordPress.com and, if you are interested, uses a the theme called Superhero. It turns out this theme was designed by one of the guys in my group. And if you’re reading this, Mr Cain, I’m still waiting for a fix on the headings.. why do they all look like H1 size, hey?  (Support update – OK, OK they are all different sizes, thanks Kathryn!)

For now, let’s just learn the best way to spend a day in East London.

The Morning – Eat Continue reading

Touring London for Social Enterprise – My Hub Crawl Route

I’m a big supporter of Social Enterprise.  I’ve worked with several of the leading social enterprise support services in London.  I love to introduce people to the fascinating world of business for benefit.

That’s why I created the Hub Crawl – A four-hour guided tour of three of the best social enterprise coworking spaces in London – Hub Islington, Hub Kings Cross and Hub Westminster.  I only run it on special occasions, but I want to describe it here to encourage you to learn more about social enterprise and these amazing hotbeds of social innovation.

You may still be wondering, what is a social enterprise anyway?  Here’s my short answer – it’s an organisation that has both social and financial goals.  What makes it different from a regular business? The social goals are at least equally as important as the financial ones.

What does social enterprise look like in action?  It could be anything from a small group of committed citizens, like the team at Hub Westminster, to a large international organisation like the Big Issue.

And that’s what’s great about the Hub Crawl, you get the chance to see and meet people from both of these organisations, and everything in between.

The Hub Crawl Route Continue reading

A diverse, multicultural walking tour around East London – my recommended route

I was recently asked by non-profit UK-Japan Learning Net to guide a group of Japanese students around East London, and give them a flavour of  our multicultural city.

I want to share with you the route we took, because it’s one of my favourite walks around London, and I hope that you get the chance to experience it too.

London – Multicultural and Diverse 

Why talk this journey? Because you can walk from the biggest banks to the smallest market stalls in 10 minutes.  You can see how London changes from smart suits to street art as you cross the street. You can meet trendy London hipsters and market stall owners from Pakistan.   Here’s the route on Google Maps

The Route: Continue reading