Lessons from Social Entrepreneurship in 2020
26 January 2021 | By Erin Hughes
In 2020, Cause4 had the great pleasure of being inspired by our Social Entrepreneurs of the Month. Each month, we featured amazing people tackling issues from climate change to social isolation. Each of our featured social entrepreneurs has identified an issue in society which they want to see addressed, and they have found a way to use their own skills and expertise to make the change they want to see. Here are a few things we learned from the social entrepreneurs:
There are lots of ways to support communities through business
Throughout the year, Cause4 spoke to social entrepreneurs working in the arts, recruitment, baking, fashion and even a garden centre and a tea shop.
All the way back in January 2020 Cause4 featured Charlie Blair as Social Entrepreneur of the Month. Charlie is the founder of The Blair Academy, which delivers hip hop dance workshops to engage individuals in society and improve their wellbeing. Other social entrepreneurs using arts to benefit their local communities included Julie Norbern and Elinor Seath, from Art4Space, and Paula Gamester, Director and co-Founder of The Sewing Rooms.
“I love working in this capacity because it’s allowed me to use my life experiences to now enrich the lives of others”
Charlie Blair – The Blair Academy
A very different kind of social enterprise was NEMI, founded by Pranav Chopra. A specialist tea company based in London, NEMI addresses the employment opportunities of refugees and supports them with work experience and job readiness skills, as well their English speaking. Similarly, Alice Williams of Luminary Bakery provides training and employment opportunities through her social enterprise.
“Luminary Bakery’s foundation is based on inspiring hope in those that walk through our doors…”
Alice Williams – Luminary Bakery
Support for BAME communities is central to many social enterprises
Social entrepreneurs seek to improve the lives of people who are disadvantaged, and many of the social entrepreneurs we spoke to in 2020 were particularly focussed on people from Black and Ethnic Minority backgrounds. One example was Onaseye Onabolu of Sona Circle. Sona Circle is a recruitment social enterprise which connects socially conscious employers with the refugee workforce. Onabolu has a track-record of promoting equality in the workplace and in employment for Refugees, Asylum Seekers, Immigrants and BAME individuals alike.
“It’s time for us to come together as a community to take a stand for what we believe in. This is true equality in society, in the workplace and on the streets of our neighbourhoods.”
Onaseye Onabolu – Sona Circle
There are lots of reasons people become social entrepreneurs…
But ultimately, whatever kind of social enterprise they start, and whatever the reasons, the main reason is to improve the world around them. From helping people experiencing isolation through dance; disadvantage in the workplace through training, employment opportunities and specialist recruiting; low self-esteem through workshops and talks; or addressing climate change; all of the social entrepreneurs Cause4 spoke to throughout 2020 were doing what they could to address the issues that mattered to them.
“This is the essence of social entrepreneurship for me: you are creating your own destiny and the shape of the world around you. I wish I’d started in social enterprise earlier than I did.”
Gareth Hart – Iridescent Ideas
We have enjoyed getting to know more about just some of the social entrepreneurs working in their communities in 2020 and look forward to meeting more in the year ahead.