“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
This month 18 social entrepreneurs – including me – completed the Lloyds Bank School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) at the Hampshire school. Over the past 12 months each has taken an idea or fledgling enterprise to the next level in order to tackle some of the most complex issues of our time. These include social injustice, health related problems or environmental issues, such as food waste, climate change, dementia, disability, mental health and well-being. Each one of us have the drive and the passion to create lasting change in our communities and now, having completed the course, we have the tools for making our social enterprises successful.
The SSE is supports innovative grassroots projects – great ideas from people with first-hand experience of social issues. The school enables people who have identified an unmet social need to use entrepreneurial approaches to create a sustainable solution to address the issue. Each month we gathered in Winchester and amongst other things, learnt how to set up the organisation, using a suitable legal structure, develop a business model, develop impact and purpose and build confidence in our leadership.
Graduation was a special day for us all. At the start of the course we each had to give a three minute pitch to the rest of the cohort to introduce our idea and share how developed the enterprise was at that point. At graduation we each had to give presentations to an audience of friends, families, the non-profit sector and mentors from Lloyds Bank. It was inspiring to see how far each had come over the year, and to see how the audience responded to our projects.
It has been a fantastic experience for each and everyone of us. We leave with the tools for success and new friends who will continue to support each other as we grow our social enterprises and carry on making a difference to our communities and the environment.
And of course we hope to continue to inspire those around us with our passion for transformational change.