I’m really proud to be able to announce that through a recent Working Neighbourhoods-funded project, the South West Birmingham Accelerator Project, 46 jobs have been created in the deprived South West area of Birmingham with the help of iSE.The project helped eight local people turn their ideas into viable enterprises by providing business training, mentoring and support.
Freshwinds IT, The Sweet Project, Tasha & Deb’s Community Café, Big Community CIC and the Person 1st Personal Assistant Agency have all been set up as social enterprises in the last 18 months despite the tough economic climate and nearly all have successfully started trading.
Our business coach James Crawley administered the project. James says, “With both the public and private sector facing difficult times ahead, we strongly believe the time is right for social enterprises to take the lead. As the Government looks to social enterprises to deliver services that were previously provided by Local Authorities or Primary Care Trusts as part of the Big Society agenda, there is a wealth of opportunities for businesses to pick up contracts.”
Natasha Basset is joint managing director of Tasha & Deb’s Community Café in Kings Norton, one of the businesses that were supported by iSE. She said: “Deborah and I had both been out of work for five years, having taken time out to look after our children. After meeting James at a workshop which he delivered in Hawkesley, we knew that setting up a social enterprise was for us. Although we’d never heard of it before, the principals of giving something back and supporting the community really chimed with us and we decided to give it a go.
“In just five months from the initial idea, with support from Bromford Housing, Birmingham City Council, Be Birmingham, Our Place Kings Norton, TC associates and iSE, we’ve developed our business plan, raised finance though a number of local businesses and Bourneville College, found premises and opened the café. It’s remarkable and we couldn’t have done it without everybody’s support.”
Within the South West Accelerator, iSE also trained more than 150 people in social enterprise and helped to create an additional 40 jobs by enabling organisations in Northfield, Selly Oak and parts of Edgbaston to grow.
iSE provides support to social enterprises at every stage of development, offering training, consultancy, access to resources and networking opportunities. To find out more visit the website or call 0121 771 1411.