‘Do well by doing good’ that’s the InspirEngage message. It’s such a pleasure when we can work with young people to train them to do exactly that. This year marked the 4 year of our involvement and partnership with Mosaic and the National Enterprise Challenge. Once again, we brought all the finalists of the challenge together and delivered a tailored InspirEngage Social Enterprise Bootcamp – helping the 13-15 year-olds to develop their aspirations of future careers, deepen their life skills as well as learn how they can take their social enterprise ideas to the next level.

A quote from a teacher at the Bootcamp

Here’s the summary from the Mosaic article (see original source here)

Some of the finalists from May’s Grand Final of Mosaic’s Enterprise Challenge recently took part in an Enterprise Bootcamp run by businesswoman and trainer Melody Hossaini of InspirEngage.

Throughout the day, Melody built on the impressive skills that the young people had already demonstrated in the Enterprise Challenge competition and led workshops for them designed to hone and extend their business acumen and further raise their confidence. The feedback from the pupils at the end of the busy was very positive. Nathan Gage from Rivers Academy in Hounslow said: “I enjoyed today very much and I learnt a lot of valuable skills about communication in business.”

Kajal Parekh from Dixons Kings Academy in Yorkshire, said: “This was hugely beneficial for me, not just in terms of business but I’ve also learnt a lot of skills that will helpful in everyday life.”

Hamzah Khan, Head of Year 9 at Dixons Kings Academy, said: “Today’s Enterprise Bootcamp has been fantastic. Melody engaged the students in a really fun and interactive way whilst also helping them to understand some important business concepts and develop the skills needed to be a successful social entrepreneur. The students have had a great day and I’m sure it will give them the confidence and know-how to be able to achieve great things in business in the future.”

Jack, a student from Rivers Academy added: “Today has really helped in terms of bring able to use new skills in daily life. We have leant how to understand how people can notice how you feel based on how you act through body language.”

Abusafian from Dixons Kings added: “Today has helped with our confidence and has taught us what to do and what not to do when presenting. I have enjoyed looking at feedback and learning about evaluations.”

Mosaic’s West Midlands Regional Manager, Becky Mitchell said: “The Bootcamp was a really inspiring and interesting day where the students gain many skills that will not only aid them in the future careers but day to day lives as well. The students went on a journey throughout the day which was fascinating to watch and you could clearly see, in the space of a few hours, the confidence and learning that they had gained. An excellent day and thoroughly recommended! Thank you!”

——–

Further statements on how students and teachers found the Bootcamp:

“It’s been very interesting and very useful. In our lives we will be able to use what we have learnt, as well as in business.” Zulkarnain, Dixons Kings.

“Today had been a very interesting experience. We have leant new skills and will be able to develop our future careers. Introducing us to proma development will really help us in our futures.” Abdurrahim, Dixons Kings

“The InspirEngage Bootcamp was wonderful experience and opportunity for the students. A fun and exciting day that encouraged, not pushed, them out of their comfort zones with brilliant results.” – Winchester Wilmot, Business Teacher at Rivers Academy West London.

“I think that the InspirEngage workshop was very beneficial for me as I have learnt skills that I can use n everyday life as well business skills. For example communication and meeting new people and working with them.” – Kajal Parekh, Dixons Kings

“The InspirEngage  workshop was a great experience and I learnt lots of useful skills that will help me in the future” Ruqayyah, 15, Dixons Kings

“It was very ‘inspiring’ and ‘Engaging’, but there was nothing fishy but the sandwiches.” – Nathan Patel, Dixons Kings Academy

“I learned loads of communication skills that will help me in life” Jack Shircore, 14, Rivers Academy

‘I enjoyed today very much as I learnt valuable skills about communication and roles in a business’ Nathan Gage, Rivers Academy

“I have a had a great and positive experience, met new people and learnt more about business” Darren Clarke, Rivers Academy

 

Melody Hossaini speaking to staff at University of Brighton

On Tuesday 22nd March 2016, I was invited to deliver a keynote at the ‘Make it Happen’ conference at University of Brighton. The conference which brought together some 100 staff from all levels at the University, had the aim of advancing women in the workplace and inspiring them as individuals.

This is an area that has formed a large part of the work we have undertaken at InspirEngage International, as well as my speaking tours (see blog on our work at the most influential gathering on women’s issues in the world; The Women’s Forum here). The world is waking up the importance of supporting and engaging women to prosper and to be ambitious enough to want what they deserve. Underlying issues remain around pay gap and lack of representation in certain sectors.

Within my 30 minute presentation, I covered the following components:

  • What the current landscape looks like for gender equality and pipeline for advancement of women
  • Statistical data in the difference in cognitive abilities and ambition traits of men and women
  • Studies on what women have expressed they require for fulfilment and retention in the workplace
  • The changing dynamics in the business world with growth of social enterprise
  • Practical tool on reconnecting participants with their personal purpose and career goals
  • Dialogue with colleagues, sharing insight, challenges and opportunities for change and social impact

It was a great session and I was struck by the depth in thinking on the matter and willingness to practically improve the situation. I urge other educational institutions to engage their teams on this topic. The power lies in addressing unconscious bias, challenging unjust processes that hold women back, encouraging women to become more confident and allowing each person to connect with their personal purpose and connect this to their role.

Testimonials

“Great conference and great presentation. Thank you.” Mairead Stickings, Staff, University of Brighton

“Fascinating talk by Melody” Nicola Ashton, Alumni Engagement Officer, University of Brighton

“Inspiring talk by social entrepreneur @Melody_Hossaini @InspirEngage “what we think we become” “create your own reality” – Penny Simpson, HR Member of Staff, University of Brighton

 

Email info@inspirEngage.com for all enquiries and bookings.

 

InspirEngage Bootcamp on Social Enterprise at JWEF by Melody Hossaini

During the week of 15th February, The InspirEngage team carried out a tour of activities in Bahrain, including Skills Bootcamps at Junior World Entrepreneurship Forum (JWEF), our Business Masterclass for SMEs as well as a stop on the international speaking tour ‘How to Change The World’. It was our second time in Bahrain, having previously delivered the InspirEngage Bootcamp training young professionals from across the MENA region to launch their own social enterprises relating to the environment, in partnership with the British Council. Here’s a breakdown of what we got up to and what we learned.

InspirEngage Skills Bootcamp

InspirEngage Bootcamp Day2

The JWEF brought together hundreds of young aspiring entrepreneurs. On the programme were a range of panels and speakers. But our stance was – magic happens when you take inspiration and turn it into action in that moment when a window of opportunity opens in your mind. This is what the Bootcamp was for. Covering the practical aspects of building an actionable plan from an idea. We delivered the Bootcamp in 2 parts- the first focusing on setting the foundation by training the participants to use our tool called ‘Career Map’ to define their goal, their identity and strengths as well as setting the right mindset for impact. The second part was hands-on and high energy including helping participants to understand social enterprise as well as putting it all in practice with our social enterprise task. They amazed us with their concepts and proved that although at the start, none of them really knew what social enterprise was- by the end of it, so many were aspiring social entrepreneurs- helping people to turn passion into profit.

‘How to Change the World’ – Speaking to Students

As Melody Hossaini’s signature speaking tour – we made a stop at Al Rajaa School in Bahrain to speak to hundreds of excited students! The presentation focuses on provoking thought in students about success and impact as well as share actionable tools and methods for ensuring their individual potential being fulfilled. The students and teachers were blown away by Melody’s interactive style – including having students up to take part in a shock-exercise. The students were eager, energised and stayed around for a long time to ask lots of questions sparked by ideas they had!

Business Masterclass for SMEs

InspirEngage Business Masterclass for SMEs

As part of supporting the growth of the eco-system as a whole in Bahrain, it’s vital to engage SMEs. For this reason, we designed an interactive ‘Business Masterclass’ hosted by Bahrain SMEs Society and the British Council. Participants were taken through a range of exercises to consider their place in the market, their social impact models and how to adopt a mindset shift leading to organisational transformation. What struck us was the fear that exists amongst people to share their ideas for risk of someone stealing their concept and replicating it. We had a fascinating dialogue on this, with us sharing the network models and changing face of business to be much more transparent.

 

Facilitating Panel on Success Stories of Local Entrepreneurs

Success Stories of Local Young Social Entrepreneurs

On day 1 of the Junior World Entrepreneurship Forum, Melody was invited to chair a panel of 4 young entrepreneurs from the region- Wafa Obaidat, Faisal Sherraif, Aysha Al Oraifi and Abdulrazag Al-Mutawa. We started with each panelist giving an overview of who they are and what they do. Melody then prompted them to tell tales of how they went from having an idea all the way to making it a success. Topics of discussion included whether starting when you’re young is a barrier or strength (most of the panelists felt that there young age worked in their favour although a couple of them did mention that sometimes they had to work hard to be taken seriously), the exact step-by-step of how they got started and got their first clients as well as their top tips for success for the aspiring entrepreneurs. Melody fielded questions from young people including from a 13-year-old who wanted to know if he was too young to get started. The panel’s advice – you’re not too young – go for it! Melody had some added words as someone who began in her sector aged 13 also. “Of course you can begin when you’re 13- but like anyone else starting a venture; do your research, speak to people who know that industry and be committed.”

It was a pleasure for us to be back in Bahrain and working to shape a strong eco-system of entrepreneurship – but one which is also socially responsible and allows young people to thrive. We wish all the young people and SMEs the best and look forward to their continued impact!

For all enquiries, email: info@inspirEngage.com

 

The Transition - Essential for Businesses Who Wish to Survive.

 

In a world that is changing in every way – businesses and the way we work, must too. Here are some of the mindset shifts that are essential for organisational transformation and survival.

From Profit to Purpose: Businesses with a strong purpose at the heart of it will benefit far greater than those who simply exist to profit. This is evident in the rise of social enterprises who are now outperforming regular businesses. According to a survey, 38% of social enterprises surveyed saw an increase in their turnover in the last twelve months with 29% of SMEs surveyed by the Department for Business. More than half of social enterprises (56%) developed a new product or service, compared with 43% of SMEs. Two-thirds (63%) of social enterprises expect their turnover to increase in the next two to three years, almost double the number of SMEs (37%). Not only this, but new statistics from the World Economic Forum also show that millennials will only stay in their job and be fulfilled if they feel connected to the purpose of that company. And finally, another reason for a justified move to focus on purpose is, that is what your consumers want! More than ever, we’re voting with our money to buy something with a narrative and caring about where our products come from.

From Hierarchies to Networks: This is where we have probably seen the greatest successes being manifested in companies who can master the model of a shared network over hierarchies. This is seen in Uber, Airbnb and Alibaba who have become some of the most successful startups due to a shared network model.

From Controlling to Empowering: They say that successful people are successful because they work with the best people. How you motivate and build your team defines your level of outcome. Leaders who can empower their network and team succeed over those who control. But it doesn’t stop at the team, but also your position in the market and your customers. Empower them. This connects to the network structure above.

From Planning to Experimentation: There was a time when launching a new product or service took a lot of time, but due to technological advancements, everything we do takes less time and we’re able to experiment more. But not only this, social media allows us to get instant feedback, replacing old extended planning time with getting things out there and improving based on instant but strategic feedback- that way ensuring we’re building products and services based on actual needs rather than presumed needs. And finally, allowing experimentation and ‘failures’ to occur in business is something which is becoming more accepted.

From Privacy to Transparency: We were in Bahrain recently delivering our Business Masterclasses for SMEs, where we saw such a fear of sharing ideas due to risk of someone stealing them. This is a great barrier holding many back from fulfilling the potential of their ideas. We are moving away from a ‘private’ world in so many ways – this is of course evident most greatly in social media and how we ‘share’ so much of our lives, ourselves and our work instantly across so many platforms. We literally ‘share’ things we see and things we are thinking about. The culture is shifting and opening possibilities for people to hear or see something and want to connect relevant people to it- whether through a ‘@mention’ on social media or saying in person ‘Oh sounds great – you should speak to this person or that person’. If we continue to keep things to ourselves out of fear, the only thing we will be left with, will be untapped potential.

 

All of the above and more covered in our Business Masterclass aimed at SMEs and Corporates. The Business Masterclass is tailored to suit each company and includes thought-provoking insight, practical activities and actionable tools to maximise purpose, impact and outcome of teams. Email: info@inspirEngage.com for all enquiries or melody@inspirEngage.com directly. Happy to chat!

 

@melody_hossaini / @inspirEngage.com

Family is good. Yes, we can all agree on that- but is it good to operate with a spirit of family in business? My views on why the Kids Company – a sizeable youth charity in the UK – fell apart.

Camila Batmanghelidjh - Kids Company Founder

Having watched the BBC documentary ‘Camila’s Kids Company- The Inside Story’ the answer is clear in my mind. The spirit of family is good – especially as a long-time youth sector supporter and social entrepreneur, I admire the ethos Camila Batmanghelidjh had, which was to see others as her own. However, in practice, the spirit of ‘family’ needs to be differentiated from the running of a business.

But what do you do when you’re so deep in the sentiment and feeling of giving and too emotionally involved? Well, this is where the big flaw was. The demise of the Kids Company underlined the importance of co-leadership (in whatever role and however structured) of someone who is emotionally tied to the mission and drives it with passion, and someone whose role it is to oversee the running of the business, the figures and finances and importantly accountable governance.

Watching the documentary, Camila reminded me of a bitter ex-wife. The ex-wife who doesn’t feel the new wife as fit enough to run her home and look after her kids. She was simply too emotionally involved to run the business side of things the way it needed to. In a way, I truly admire her strength and drive. She really was a woman on a mission- she had skills and assets which the charity almost couldn’t do without, but she was perhaps in the wrong role, and had she allowed someone in to run the business and instead focused on liaising with the community and ensuring that delivery on the ground was sufficient – the charity would have probably survived.

The thing which made me very uncomfortable was how dependent the service users were. There’s no doubt that Kids Company made a substantial difference to people’s lives. That was clear. However, I don’t think it a mark of success that people cry out your name in need- because that means you haven’t empowered them or helped them develop their skills to survive- you’ve simply empowered yourself to help- a help, they’ll always depend on. A help which without they’d drown. That’s dangerous. At InspirEngage International, we always instil a sense of social and personal responsibility in the individuals we train and work with. Otherwise, we’d be doing a disservice to them.

As a former Chair of The Board of Trustees at UK Youth Parliament, I was always conscious of the legal and financial responsibility I held. Something must also be said for their role in this.

When all is said & done- the demand & need in community is what should be highlighted. There’s work to be done.

Tweet me your thoughts @Melody_Hossaini.

Melody

 

The difference between success & failure is the student who wants to put in & the student who shrugs their shoulders and says ‘I don’t know’. It doesn’t make the second student any less talented who lack potential. They just don’t know why they should bother- and it’s something, sadly, we see too often when we first walk into delivering an InspirEngage Bootcamp.

The moment when they realise WHY they should try- that’s the moment you get to witness what they’re truly capable of. This picture was one of those moments. Delivering an InspirEngage Bootcamp at Harrow College as part of Social Enterprise Revolution- helping the students develop their skills to ensure they’re happy, successful & giving back.

See this in action in this short video capturing some of their journey



Social Enterprise Revolution in the press:
‘UK’s first hands-on social enterprise programme embedded into the curriculum’, What a Mission, Jan 2016 here.

‘Education Secretary Michael Gove visits Harrow College’ and praises Social Enterprise Revolution, This is Local London, Oct 2013 here.

‘Apprentice star Melody Hossaini to coach Solihull business classes’ Birmingham Mail, 4 July 2013 here.

‘Gove on Social Enterprise’ by Melody Hossaini for The Guardian, 28 June 2013 here.

‘Why social enterprise should be at the heart of the BBC’s The Apprentice’, by Melody Hossaini for The Guardian, 5 June 2013 here.

‘Solihull College Become National Pioneers Of Social Enterprise’ September 2013, Business Report here.

‘Solihull College puts social enterprise into curriculum’ – FE News here.

‘Barnet and Southgate College joins the Social Enterprise Revolution’, March 2014 here.

For all Bootcamp enquiries, email info@InspirEngage.com

Muslim women who can’t speak English – that’s been one of the main stories in the press today. The point about people learning to speak English – it’s something I’ve been talking about for a long time. It’s absolutely VITAL that people who settle in a certain country, learn to speak the language of that country. As a former resident and national of Sweden, I know that no one was able to get a Swedish passport unless they passed Swedish language tests.

It’s unacceptable that some have lived here 40 years and can’t put a sentence together- or that some children start primary school at 4 years old, having been born in this country yet don’t speak a word of English! How can you appreciate the culture, contribute meaningfully or integrate? (yes you can pay taxes but that isn’t the only contribution that matters!)

However, having said all that, I don’t like how the news is speaking about the English language barrier, solely as being relevant to MUSLIM WOMEN! It’s not! That has nothing to do with it! It applies to everyone. If we really want to solve the root of this problem – we have to look at the cultural traits of the communities where this issue is prevalent, and understand that in order to solve it.

What are your views of the news bulletins on this issue? Tweet me: @Melody_Hossaini – Facebook here.

 

This must be the top issue raised by young people. Sorry, but if you graduate or even finish school and have zero experience, then what were you doing in your most time-rich period? You can get involved in so many fun things, meet amazing people as well as clock up years of experience.

A lot of employers are now telling us that they are rating experience on par with qualifications, if not higher. I started in the youth and community sector at the age of 13. Now at the age of 31, I have 18 years experience in my sector. Aside from the experience, volunteering allows you to also make a difference in your community. And what you do out of pure choice- for free, says a lot about you. #DoingWellByDoingGood

 

Watch Melody’s Top 10 First Job Vlog (in partnership with the Department for Work & Pensions).

 

For all speaking enquiries, email: info@inspirEngage.com

 

Stats have shown that social enterprises are outperforming the mainstream business model (see full stats here). Watch this uncut interview with me at the National Social Enterprise Festival held at Greenwich University. Questions include what qualities young people need to go into social enterprise, what educational institutions can do to help and main lesson I have learned as a social entrepreneur.

Tweet: @Melody_Hossaini

You are your greatest asset & opportunity, just like you can also be your greatest limit. I always say that your circumstances don’t define you- your mindset does. In this blog, I wanted to share a little story with you on how to turn failure into your advantage.

I remember at GCSE maths mock exams, I got an E (maths was never my strength). For my report predictions my teacher predicted me a E/D for the final GCSE. I begged her not to write that in my permanent documented report and that I promise I’ll do better. She said there’s nothing she can do since I got an E. I refused to accept this.

I went home and spent months re-learning everything from that year- I even asked for the syllabus and went over everything myself. When the exams came (I had to take 2 or 3 exams for the intermediate level), I remember turning the page in the actual exam and being shocked as nothing made sense. I sat there for about 7 minutes (which is an eternity in exams!) just frozen to the spot.

Then I put my hand up, asked for a hair tie (the teacher gave me an elastic band) and I put my hair up, rolled the sleeves up on my school shirt & focused my mind with a persistence that I can do this. I scored one of the highest in my class in that exam. In fact, I got a GCSE B (the highest you can get on an intermediate paper) overall. That meant so much to me and it will always be a testament to the fact that your attitude to something can combat your lack of natural ability. It’s also worth mentioning that, had it not been for the ‘failure’ of getting an E in the mocks, I may not have worked as hard. You have to allow even your ‘failures’ to inspire you to do better, not be your reason to give up.

Mindset isn’t an abstract ‘magic’ that transforms your reality – no! But it’s the factor which determines your behaviour in a situation and what you do about it. And that’s what transforms your reality. It takes hard work but healthy attitude is what makes the difference. This is something which you can learn over time and train your mind to do.

That became the central aim of how I designed our InspirEngage Bootcamp and courses. Drop me a line on info@inspirEngage.com to be added to our list to be sent exclusive info on upcoming courses and opportunities.

Tweet me your thoughts @Melody_Hossaini. Sending you all my warmest wishes.

 

Happy Youth Day! An important day to celebrate the young people who work tirelessly to improve the world we live in. Supporting young people to feel better and acquire skills to create change in their communities, has formed a central focus for me which later turned into InspirEngage International. On this day, I think about the many young people we have met and trained in our InspirEngage Bootcamps across the world, who wanted to give back even when they had nothing, the young people who gave of their time and energy even when they were told they were crazy dreamers and the young people who showed kindness without agenda when adults couldn’t set the good example. You are the hope for our better world.

Here is an absolutely fascinating and inspiring short video sharing the stories of 3 young change makers, Eden Full, Zach Ingrasci and Amit Dodani on why they became such pioneers of social action. Video by our friends at Youth Venture and Ashoka.

Story of 3 young change makers.

 

All enquiries: info@inspirEngage.com Tweet: InspirEngage / @Melody_Hossaini

 

 

As the social enterprise world grows, a lot of conversations are taking place on what really makes them unique and what is it that defines them. I touched on this recently at the Social Enterprise Festival- see this > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3GVlWN-nj4

A new business contact of mine, Peter, sent me the following article from Stanford Social Innovation Review which I find extremely thought-provoking and insightful (although I must say, I don’t necessarily share the perspective fully, yet the article is poignant).

Doing Less, Better

Call me a natural skeptic. As the social enterprise movement has gained momentum over the past decade, launching new conferences and awards, I have found myself continually puzzling over what makes the enterprise approach different from traditional charities and nonprofits.

The typical definition of a social enterprise—an organization that combines revenue-generation with a social mission—fails to line up with the reality of how we use the term. Many organizations carrying that label lack any form of customer or client revenue.

At one end of the spectrum are businesses that use some portion of profits for charitable work, such as TOMS Shoes and Newman’s Own Foundation, which could just as easily be called corporate philanthropy. At the other end are mostly donation-funded organizations. For example, Shining Hope for Communities is a great organization working with girls in Nairobi’s undeveloped areas, but its business model is not so different from traditional charities.

In between, there are organizations such as Sanergy, a sanitation company also in Nairobi, that has leveraged grant funding and innovation prizes to subsidize the development of a revenue-generating model for urban toilet franchises. Adding to the diversity, there are also product companies focused on creating ethical value-chains, such as Divine Chocolate.

It’s clear that, despite the alleged importance of revenue-generation, the social enterprise movement contains a variety of financing models. And while definitions of social enterprise have used the broader, vaguer criteria of applying “commercial strategies” to social issues, this translation of management practices across sectors is an old practice.

Meanwhile, there is something new about the fervor attached to social enterprises. Something about them attracts attention and excitement in a way that other nonprofits, charities, and NGOs fail to do.

Focus, Focus, Focus

My conversations with professionals at various organizations have suggested a subtler and largely unrecognized difference: Today’s social enterprises have a relatively narrow focus.

Large NGOs work on multiple issues in dozens of countries. Plan International’s website, for example, shows that it works on eight broad issue areas—including education, emergencies, and child protection—and in about 50 countries. A former employer of mine, Mercy Corps, lists 12 similarly big issues and about 45 countries.

Balancing priorities across broad missions and locations leads to serious management challenges. How do you trade off between investing organizational resources in education or health projects, when they lack common metrics? Setting strategic direction becomes about competing values for the issues that matter most to the organization, which can turn analytical discussions into political ones. Too often, organizations resolve such questions based on the interests of donors, whether those are foundations, government agencies, or public appeals.

At the same time, new ideas struggle in large organizations. They frequently get caught in “innovation units”—silos that often lack the organizational footholds needed to influence broader practice. In this way, the innovation challenge facing large NGOs is not so different from the one facing corporate giants like GE or IBM.In contrast, most social enterprises do essentially one thing. Kiva, for example, connects lenders with borrowers via its field partners. Digital Divide Data provides business outsourcing that creates backend jobs for disadvantaged youth, military spouses, and veterans. These clear, straightforward missions guide strategic choices and management.

Another well-known example is One Acre Fund, which serves small-scale farmers in East Africa and views every decision through that lens. The primary service line is asset-based financing paired with agricultural training and market facilitation. Significant management attention goes to improving that service line. When the organization experiments with supplementary services like microinsurance or solar lamps, it evaluates each one based on whether it makes the farmer more prosperous. If not, then One Acre Fund cuts that service.

In short, for social enterprises, focus can be a competitive advantage when it comes to impact. Focus helps leadership drive better methods and operations. It creates incentives to innovate within a targeted scope. And when the business model requires external support, a focused goal leads to clearer appeals and more excitement from fans.

Keeping Perspective

Of course, a focus that’s too narrow also has drawbacks. For example, the buy-one-give-one models of TOMS and others have been rightly criticized for displacing local production, and ultimately making a greater impact on the company’s own marketing than on poverty. A narrow focus must be justified within a broader view. And we must keep in mind that larger, multi-sector organizations have a critical advantage in addressing complex problems at scale.

Ultimately, the social sector needs a combination of focus and diffusion to drive progress. Social enterprises play a special role by focusing energy and effort on a single problem. That role distinguishes them from other organizations far more than how they finance themselves. They can pioneer innovations that larger organizations absorb and scale, or they can grow into larger organizations themselves, bringing their improved management methods with them. They should just make sure they maintain focus along the way.

Original source here.

 

Commonwealth Secretariat

Climate change – one of the greatest threats facing our world. We’re not talking a slightly warmer Summer, we are talking a substantial shortage of resources, natural disasters triggered by causes of climate change and a threat to vulnerable species. This is an issue that’s been at the heart of

InspirEngage with the Young Experts

InspirEngage’s work which began in 2007 when Melody was invited to be trained by Al Gore on ‘The Inconvenient Truth’ which she adapted to suit young people. InspirEngage has since delivered programmes across the world training young people to develop the skills and projects to create change in their communities (we’ve even seen young people turn their projects with us into their current career), including working with British Council HQ on managing their climate youth programmes at the UN and COP talks.

On 10 June 2015, Melody Hossaini and the InspirEngage team were invited to the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, to present to young experts from across the Commonwealth nations. The topic: ‘How Social Enterprise Can Help Solve Climate Change’.

The evidence provided by Melody along with other expert speakers, was used to shape a recommendation by the young experts to be presented to COP UN talk in Paris 2015 and can be read here.

Watch a snapshot of Melody’s presentation at Commonwealth Secretariat:

 

For all enquiries, email: info@inspirEngage.com / tweet: @inspirEngage/ @Melody_Hossaini

A few days ago, I posted the following video on my youtube channel, making my special announcement:

 

As said in the video, after working and helping communities across 100 countries and having spoken in over 50 countries, it’s always been a dream of mine to work with people in my own country. As you know, I was born in Tehran, but have never been back for business purposes. This August, I will be a keynote speaker at the Junior World Entrepreneurship Forum being held in Teheran on 20th August 2015. I will be sharing my story and also outlining the importance of social enterprise in the new business world being created to over 500 participants. This will be followed by an InspirEngage Skills Bootcamp. Information on speaker profiles (and a very rare pic of me in Hijab) + conference info here > http://tehran2015.jwef.ir

Importantly, it will also be the first ever speech or training I have given in my own mother tongue! (my mum says I better get practising!)

Make sure to subscribe to the my youtube channel as there will be a video of the conference going up there (with behind the scenes!). As well as this, I have gathered some leading Iranian social media talents for a little hashtag campaign sharing my journey via #AroundTehranWithMelody (if you’re a social media influencer in Tehran, drop us an email to get involved info@inspirEngage.com).

For now I want to say thank you to everyone for your support and kindness, as always!

Kheyli mamnoun- ghadresho midounam, va dar Iran mibinametoun!

Melody

 

Yesterday, Unltd announced that the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills has today approved a bid to develop an apprenticeship for entrepreneurs, including a specific pathway for social entrepreneurs. Due to the significant number of young people who want to start a business, entrepreneurship has now been recognised as a viable career route, and therefore apprenticeships have been created that allow individuals to learn skills to go into business, whilst working. The exciting thing for organisations like InspirEngage, is that there are also particular pathways for social enterprise.

The new apprenticeship for entrepreneurs standard is backed by a ‘trailblazer’ group of around 50 employers, chaired by Alberto Masetti-Zannini from Impact Hub King’s Cross and is supported by UnLtd, the UK’s foundation for social entrepreneurs, along with the Federation of Small Businesses and the Centre for Entrepreneurs. Employers backing the bid include Deutsche Bank and a number of SMEs and social enterprises including Reason Digital, Talentino Careers, Super Being Labs and Simply Do StartUp.

Unltd share stats showing that half of people aged 18-30 want to start their own business. There’s also growing appetite among young people to make a positive impact on the world. Seven in ten (70%) prospective start-ups are influenced by social causes, while 27% would choose to form a social enterprise.

This is a great move and will finally support the individuals who have a passion for business but need support to develop skills before launching.

Infographic - Entreprentice

 

Participants of Startup & Stilettos

Social Enterprise allows individuals to make money whilst making a difference! People call those who have been through adversity, ‘disadvantaged’ but when it comes to social enterprise, they are actually advantaged. Who better to solve domestic violence than someone who has experienced it? In 2013, InspirEngage International saw a gap in support for adult vulnerable women so be able to become economically active. You could argue it’s more important to help young people, as they can make a change earlier on. But training the women has a triple bottom line: Them as individuals, their community through their social enterprise and their children.

Startup and Stilettos is a unique and focused programme, supporting vulnerable adult women to develop the skills, confidence and business plan to launch their own social enterprise and becoming economically independent. The unique element is our approach and style of delivery! From drama to Persian dance to core personal and business development. A programme which has received much attention and had huge impact through the 10 we have delivered since 2013. Watch it come to life in the video below.

 

To find out more, to book a Startup & Stilettos Bootcamp or to become a sponsor, email info@inspirEngage.com

No-make selfie going into my social enterprise ‘BETTER’ gym . Lady at reception said “oh we haven’t seen you in a while!” That’s because I haven’t been for over 1.5 months. Pre-pregnancy I was 49/50kg. Post birth I was 62kg. Right now, exactly 10 months on, I’m 57.5kg. All my old clothes don’t fit! Of course I want to be back at my original weight.

However my daily choice between priorities is:

  • spending time & caring for Kian (cooking his every meal, as well this I spend so much time on his development of mind and character doing my own exercises to refine his communication skills).
  • business. I run @inspirengage and absolutely love what I’m doing. I have 3 international trips & projects coming up as well as launching new projects. Needs my time.
  • family & friends, quality time with my husband (who really helps with Kian so much thankfully)
  • exercise and time for pampering (hair, nails, exercise).

It’s a struggle sometimes to do it all- especially to a high standard. It’s a matter of priorities. And because of that, the ‘me’ time including exercise, frequently comes last.

It’s all good-  I’m learning to find balance and feel truly blessed. Can you relate?

PS – I wrote all this whilst on the treadmill! See, I’m a juggler!!

Tweet/ig: @Melody_Hossaini

 

InspirEngage Skills Bootcamp - interactive & exploratory

Mosaic supporter Melody Hossaini and CEO of InspirEngage International got down to serious business with budding entrepreneurs recently at the Enterprise Challenge Entrepreneurs’ Workshop.

Melody, a former contestant on BBC’s The Apprentice, took this year’s winning and second placed Enterprise Challenge finalists to a special InspirEngage Skills Bootcamp. The Bootcamp, held at the offices of KPMG in Canary Wharf, was part of a series of follow-up prizes to the Enterprise Challenge. The business-focussed workshop gave the students a taste of InspirEngage’s Skills Bootcamp with a focus on social enterprise. Students from winning school Skinners’ Academy in Hackney and runners-up Langley Academy in Slough took part.

The students heard from Melody about her experience in setting up her social enterprise, and were given an opportunity to develop their own knowledge and skills across a range of areas linked to setting up and running their own social enterprise. During the first half of the Bootcamp, the students were able to take part in confidence building, self-awareness and communications skills.

Students with InspirEngage Mentor, Oscar Evans

The second half of the InspirEngage Bootcamp involved the students developing their business plans further that they produced at the Enterprise Challenge Grand Final in London 2015. InspirEngage had even invited two of their high-profile mentors, Gareth Narinesingh and Oscar Evans who delivered thought-provoking personal accounts as well as sat with the students to offer advice and feedback on their business plans.

On the Bootcamp, Melody said: “Really enjoyed being a judge in the Mosaic Enterprise Challenge Finals and see the students’ business concepts. Following this and for the third year now, InspirEngage International has delivered our Skills Bootcamp for the finalist teams in bringing their concepts to life. We trained them to develop their skills and mindset to turn their concept into a real social enterprise. Great progress and so glad the students took a lot from it. Thank you also to KPMG for hosting.”

‘Our purpose at KPMG is to inspire confidence and empower change. Mosaic seeks to inspire young people from deprived communities to realise their talents and potential, they partnered with InspirEngage to deliver a skills Bootcamp for student finalists in the Mosaic Enterprise Challenge in our new SPRING space. SPRING is KPMG UK’s fresh new approach to Corporate Responsibility and our employee volunteering offer.’ Roisin Murphy, Head of Corporate Responsibility, KPMG

(Written by Mosaic, edited by InspirEngage. Photography by Sophie Allen)

 

Speaking at the Apprenticeship Graduation, 18 June

Yesterday, I was invited to attend and speak at the Leicestershire Apprenticeship Graduation at De Montfort Hall. I’ve always liked the model of apprenticeships. Learn and earn whilst working- but yesterday, I found new passion for it! Seeing the impact on the graduates, and how it had provided a path to success for so many who the traditional model had failed – but also those who simply found this to be the winning model and do not fancy the debts of a degree at Uni.

The Graduates 18 June

When delivering my keynote (pictured above) to an audience of graduates, parents, businesses, city council members and Mayor (Peter Soulsby – who was such a gent and extremely passionate about the cause), I emphasised the point that we shouldn’t devise simply one way to success- it’s a conscious choice on what suits you and your goal. I heartily congratulate those who are courageous enough to choose theirs, like the graduates had done yesterday. I was also honoured to present ‘The Apprentice of The Year’ to Kaifer Williams from South Leicestershire College!

In the late afternoon, I was invited to speak at the Leicester LEP who hosted a conference for businesses interested in Apprenticeships and their providers. Great hearing from fellow speakers, including a beautifully passionate presentation by Marion Plant, Principal and Chief Executive of North Warwickshire & Hinckley College and South Leicestershire College. But how can we increase the numbers and offer this fantastic model to more individuals.

  • Firstly, there is a slight sense of irony. We bill apprenticeships as an ‘alternative’ route to traditional and rigid University degrees and qualifications, and yet, our focus is so qualification-centered on apprenticeships. Needless to say it’s an essential part of apprenticeships and another model to achieving qualifications, but we shouldn’t lose emphasis on apprenticeships being about ‘learning by doing’ and earning- which is what is the main attraction to a lot of ‘non-traditional educational’ young people.
  • Although apprenticeship learning offers such a wide exposure to skill areas and core qualification subjects, sometimes the missing link can be the simple foundation life skills. Skills like showing up and having eye-contact, shaking hands and introducing yourself and being able to interact and show initiative. These are the basics to not only the individual feeling more prepared and confident, but also it decreases the risk to businesses who take them on, in them being work-ready, therefore needing less training for the basics.

    Speaking to BBC News

    This is why at InspirEngage, we deliver the the Life Skills Bootcamps that equip young people with the basic skills, attitude and confidence which compliments the rest of their learning, but importantly, also, encourage those who may not have put themselves forward, to consider it.

  • The graduation was being held in Leicester, a city with a very high population of Indians. At InspirEngage International we have spoken to numerous young people from those communities who feel they might want to explore options like apprenticeships but feel they are unable to because their parents would not accept it, as an alternative to University and traditional routes. This can be addressed and we are beginning those conversations.

We want to thank Leicestershire Apprenticeship Hub and the LLEP for hosting this event and welcoming myself and InspirEngage to be a part of celebrating such an important journey for the graduates.

For all enquiries, email: info@inspirEngage.com