In the summer of 2013 I saw a random tweet about the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) and Lloyds Bank programme supporting social start-ups through learning and a small grant. I called the SSE to ask if my vague idea was eligible and they said yes but that I only had three days to submit my application before the deadline. At that point all I had was some market research and an idea that I didn’t know if and how it would work. I gave it a shot and after a long assessment process I made it into the 2013-14 cohorts. I was elated.
The idea for a social enterprise came to me after working with children and young people in the public and charity sectors for over 10 years. I realised that with the extensive funding cuts of recent years some young people were finding it ever harder to access additional funding to help them with some of the extra costs they faced when accessing training and learning.
In my day to day job having to say “no” to so many young people who wanted to join the volunteering programme I managed, simply because we as a charity could not cover the extra costs was heart breaking. These young people were excluded from potentially life changing experiences for the sake of few hundred pounds that they could not source anywhere.
So I thought, I needed a project that would combine my love for learning, promote exploration and discovery to everyone and then enable me to use profits to support these very young people in real need. IgniterHive was born!
This past year marked a very steep learning curve with everything business and social enterprise related: marketing, branding, legal structures, social return on investment, social media, networking, business planning, pricing, strategies, recruitment, volunteers, design, printing to name but a few. An overwhelming array of different business facets all brought together in a coherent, structured and exciting way by the School for Social Entrepreneurs programme.
It’s exciting and scary to start a new business, your own business, as one can feel isolated at times. It’s been a great help to work with my fellow colleagues, despite having different projects we share an ethos and a willingness to make our businesses work.
Thanks to the knowledge and experience of tutors, mentors, facilitators, trainers and the support of the cohort it all slowly took shape. I’m excited that a year on IgniterHive is now registered as a Community Interest Company and I’m now a Fellow of the School, with lots of exciting work ahead of us!
A special thank you goes to the School for Social Entrepreneurs, Action Hampshire, Lloyds Bank and the Big Lottery Fund for making it all happen.
Yet, this is only the beginning. We now want to inspire more people to explore, discover and grow; and by doing so raise the money we need to support young people in their next step towards fulfilling their goals.
We are lucky enough to have a small team of volunteers helping to push the social enterprise forward in areas like website development, design, digital and marketing. But we are always looking for great creative people to join our team. If you can spare a couple of hour a week and have something you like to share please get in touch.
Come along, have fun, do something new and support a young person.
Thank you to Charlotte Young, Chair of Trustees at the School for Social Entrepreneurs, for her letter following our graduation on 28 October 2014.