Building a Social Enterprise Together

Last week we celebrated the completion of our most recent Women into Business course! Delivered by our Learning and Development team in partnership with Dechomai, the course took place over eight weeks and involved learning how to set up a social enterprise. The group, consisting of 11 amazing women from cultures including Algerian, Sudanese, Ethiopian, and Bangladeshi, came together to set up a catering business called ‘Jawhara’, which means previous diamond in Arabic.

In order to develop their social enterprise, the group first considered what skills each individual brought to the team and how they could best make use of these in their business model. It was discovered that many of the women shared a passion for making Algerian / North African food. The group carried out some market research with the local community and found that a service offering sweet, afternoon tea-style treats would be very well received.

The group had challenges they wanted to address as part of this project – something to be expected when setting up a whole new enterprise! Many expressed a lack of confidence in themselves – some as a result of overcoming language barriers, others because they had not studied or practiced this type of skill before, or because they had childcare arrangements to attend to alongside their learning.

However, many of the women expressed that being a part of this course has helped them to face some of these issues head-on! The group were able to develop a number of different skills through the course – including research, marketing, budgeting, project management, and event management, to name a few. One of the major successes of the project was that the group were able to achieve a profit with their social enterprise, as their cause is to help aid women’s wellbeing in the local community. Two of the women involved in the group have also created their own catering business!

“This has been a great way to meet new people and learn some new skills”

Another benefit of taking part in this course is that the women were able to achieve a better understanding of their role in society and what they can achieve themselves. Realising that women can do more than looking after children and taking care of the household, has been a valuable outcome of this project for some. The course also gave the women the opportunity to gain new friendships, build a support network with peers in their community, and discover new things to learn.

A massive well done to all of the women who have taken part in creating Jawhara! Building a social enterprise from the ground up is no easy feat, so a huge congratulations from everyone at Space and the Learning and Development team for all of the hard work you have put into the project. We look forward to hearing about your future successes (of which we’re sure there will be many)!

If you are looking to get back into employment, our Learning and Development service has a range of projects that offer training and support to help you along the way – click here to find out more.