Building Social Entrepreneurship Vision in Schools

In the UK, there are over 400,000 teenagers annually enrolling in college courses which will not lead to jobs.  Currently, three leading support organizations – InspirEngage International, UnLtd’s “Live UnLtd,” and Xing Education have begun the ‘Create Your Career’ program to try and change that.

The competition aims to encourage young people, ages 11 to 16, to think about starting a social venture and how it could lead to a career.  To help young people get started with their social entrepreneurship, they have access to an ideas notebook, support from a Live UnLtd development manager in their area and £500 of funding, as well as access to a Skills BootCamp delivered by InspirEngage.  Social ventures can range from sporting activities, intergenerational themes or groups hosting recreational events.  Clothes recycling and re-design workshops, anti-gun crime merchandise, street dance classes and a tap water bottle refill network are just some of the ideas that young people in the UK are turning into successful, financially viable, social ventures.

The program is the brainchild of Melody Hossaini who shot to fame when she appeared on the UK show “The Apprentice,” with Sir Alan Sugar.  At age 13, she helped establish a leading democratic youth organization and in 2005 made history in Britain by becoming the first female (and ethnic minority) to be elected Chair of its Board of Trustees.  In 2009, Melody set up the social enterprise InspirEngage International, with £0 and a hotmail email account.  InspirEngage’s central objective is to improve the lives of children and young people through unique Skills Development Bootcamps.  Melody holds a Law degree from Oxford Brookes University, has lived in 4 countries and speaks 5 different languages.  Her passions are Social Justice, Young people and Enterprise.  The perfect combination of skills for bringing her passion, connection, cause and skills to schools.

InspirEngage International is a leading world organization in skills training and youth engagement.  Their mission is to passionate support individuals to fulfill their potential by using innovative methods which provoke thought and encourage life-changing growth.  The goal to to support students to develop Life Skils to be more: confident, work-ready, and enterprising.  Over the past 14 years in the youth sector, the organization has worked with varied groups from homeless young people, young offenders, and asylum seekers.

“Introducing social entrepreneurship as a viable career choice for young people has been high on the agenda for InspirEngage, which is why InspirEngage is delighted to be part of ‘Create Your Career’ alongside LiveUnLtd and Xing,” says Melody Hossaini.

The collaboration prompted Josie Emberton, Head of Live UnLtd to say, “It’s time for young people in schools to get the chance to become social entrepreneurs, that’s why we are delighted to be running ‘Create Your Career’ with InspirEngage and Xing Eduction.  Young people from across the UK will be able to lead their own social ventures, as well as receiving cash and support from the Live UnLtd team.”  She also said, “This will open up a world of social entrepreneurship further than we have ever done before.  It is super exciting and ambitious, but will, hopefully, encourage the next generation of social entrepreneurs.”

Xing Education is an online resources for information and resources related to Education.  It provides useful details about websites and businesses which have products or services or general information on Education – all conveniently categorized in an easy to find way for young people. Xing Education provides support for various ventures including young people wanting to run their own smoothie bar.  Richard Strudwick, co-founder of Xing commented, “We believe in creating opportunities for young people to realize their own brilliance.  Xing Education gives students opportunity to run their own business while still at school or college.”  He also says, “Teaming up with Live UnLtd and InspirEngage is all about leveraging the strengths we all have.  We are much stronger working together and can offer better support to more students – what’s not to like?”

Teams from Live UnLtd and InspirEngage toured schools across the UK to deliver InspirEngage Bootcamps in the fall of 2012.  The bootcamps provided young people who registered the practical support to launch their social enterprise with a deadline for entries of December 10, 2012.  Winners will be announced later in January 2013.

Find out more about this innovative competition here.

About the Author

I am a soccer mom, musician, Beatles fanatic,dreamer, chocolate chip cookie maker, and passionate advocate and evangelist for cleantech and cleanweb causes, organizations, and companies that make the planet better in all ways.