In May 2017, we were excited to welcome 10 budding social entrepreneurs to The Platform to take part in a course to help develop their ideas and confidence in setting up a social enterprise. The 6-day intensive course, otherwise known as the Launch Pad, was the first stage of the application process for the SEEK Programme which starts on the 3rd of July.
We were in awe of the applications that came through which covered a wide range of ideas to tackle social and environmental issues in Greater Brighton. Key themes were mental health and wellbeing and several ideas focused on supporting socially isolated groups and individuals.
The course, co-created by The Platform and the project partners – StartUp Croydon, University of Chichester, Croydon Council and UnLtd, offered a thorough introduction to social enterprise (what is and what’s not a social enterprise?), a chance to understand social issues and uncover the root causes and activities to explore viable business models.
The content covered was designed to provoke applicants to dig deeper and explore their idea thoroughly. Tools and techniques were shared to encourage applicants to develop an entrepreneurial mindset that would build their confidence in setting up a social enterprise and embarking on the startup journey. A safe space was created where there were no silly questions and we saw support being offered by applicants as well as specialists delivering sessions.
Before I started the Launch Pad course I had little or no idea of what a social enterprise was. All I knew was that I had an idea about helping young communities. Two weeks later, and now I am able to say I know what a social enterprise is and what they do. Thanks to SEEK I can now call my idea a social enterprise.
Following the Launch Pad applicants attended a pitching workshop and were then given the opportunity to pitch for one of seven places on the programme. The panel consisted of Project Coordinator, Sara Osterholzer; UnLtd startup specialist, Rebecca Luff; and social entrepreneur and Founder of FotoDocument, Nina Emett. Nina shared that she “was very impressed by the quality of the candidates and their ideas. The SEEK programme is clearly a great way to get people who are out of work back into the workforce in an exciting and innovative way”.
The selected entrepreneurs start their journey in July 2017 with a week-long training event in Brighton followed by 6 months of group and individual support to help build a strong foundation from which the participants build their enterprise and achieve their social mission. We will be highlighting the SEEK social entrepreneurs individually on a monthly basis so keep an eye out to follow their journey.
I would absolutely recommend the course to others as it was a very positive and inspiring experience. The course forces you to address issues you may not have known even existed. Good for personal growth as well.
Interested in hearing more and applying to the programme?
The programme is taking place simultaneously in Brighton, Croydon and Chichester and much of the activity sees cohorts come together to engage in larger groups. The SEEK team will be recruiting for the 2018 cohort from November 2017. If you would like to stay in touch with updates and recruitment dates, sign up to the SEEK mailing list here.
The SEEK project has received funding under the Building Better Opportunities Programme which is jointly funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund.