Mind The Gap- Women & The Future of Work

Where is the future of work for women headed? Read my article for Huffington Post on how women can maximise their chances in the work place and there’s so much more to it than the gender pay gap. Read full article on Huffington Post, here.

 

We’d love to know what you think and where the solutions lie. Tweet @inspirEngage/ @Melody_Hossaini

 

New IFS stats show there's still an 18% pay gap between men & women

Women earn 18% less than men on average, according to new research. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) also found that the gap balloons after women have children, raising the prospect that mothers are missing out on pay rises and promotions. That is echoed by a separate report on Tuesday suggesting that male managers are 40% more likely than female managers to be promoted.

I think we need to stop putting women’s pathway in a box and say ‘well it would be the same for men’ – it’s simply not! The stats show that. Whether it’s men or women, if they become a parent with responsibility for child care and are stepping back from a career but they wish to continue working and prospering, then it’s important that companies value the skill and experience and where possible (and some need to make effort to make it possible, if not currently) for them to work flexible hours and be eligible for the same salary rises as those working full-time. Becoming a mother gives you fresh ambition and if valued and invested in, it can provide much asset for companies. Instead it’s wasted.
Yes we are improving and we should celebrate the lower rate – however, for the current focus there is on innovative thinking, working and female empowerment, it’s actually disappointing. InspirEngage International, a social enterprise I run, delivers a programme called ‘Startup & Stilettos- The Future is Female’ (see a snapshot video here)  and in this, we train women who have lost their confidence to launch their own social enterprises and become economically independent. It has shown us that business sometimes is the only place women can create their own rules and those women should be applauded. However, a vast majority of women who work in companies who still operate with a marked gender pay gap, are affected. I support Government’s plans to publish the bigger companies’ pay gap, but the change will continue to happen slowly unless we are willing restructure the labour market to allow skilled and ambitious women (particularly mothers) to thrive.

However, the problem isn’t solely for companies and Government to solve. Another important factor in addressing the gender pay gap is women being afraid to challenge their employers in asking the tough questions & wanting to be paid their worth. Research shows that women’s ambition dips whereas men’s grows- is that due to the system of being undervalued or is it us?

We need to work on the women as well as challenging the employers. This is what we do at InspirEngage with our programmes aimed at women and the speaking tours I undertake- once you understand your worth, your skills and what you are working for, you’re more likely to be able to match it with ambition and productivity. Not only that, but we are now working with companies to increase a sense of purpose connected to the company vision for women which research has shown increases retention. This is good for the employer and for the women.

 

Upcoming events Melody will be speaking at, connected to this subject:

  • Keynote speaker, Future Fest, on the subject of future of work for young people and women, 17 September, London
  • Speaker at 18th Global Women in Leadership Economic Forum in Dubai, on the subject of career and purpose for women, October 2016
  • Speaker at CSR Lebanon Forum in Beirut, October 2016
  • Trainer at Women’s Forum, Deauville, France, November 2016
For all enquiries, email info@inspirEngage.com. Tweet: @inspirEngage / @Melody_Hossaini

Watch Melody speaking at TEDx Women in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

 

‘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

 

When people ask us what we do, we say ‘help people to do well by doing good’. Over the past couple of years, we’ve been working with Boston College through our ‘Social Enterprise Revolution’ programme, starting with hosting their first ever social enterprise conference, to delivering several social enterprise Bootcamps and facilitating their social enterprise market day- all with the objective of increasing the number of social enterprises in the community. On 27 April 2016, we delivered a very special Bootcamp.

Back in February, a group of students and community members came together where we helped them develop their skills to and project development tools to take their social enterprise ideas to fruition. With pots of seed-funding up from grabs in partnership with Unltd, the Bootcamp had great outcome with several securing what they needed. At the end of the Bootcamp, I offered the group (mostly consisting of Plumbing students) the opportunity to do a ‘Train the Trainer’ with us in order to co-deliver the next Bootcamp. A few of them signed up.

Fast forward to 27 April, the 4 students spent the morning with Melody, learning the techniques of a trainer, breaking down the modules and practicing delivering it. We encouraged them to push through their comfort zone and to try to lead a session on their own. We rolled up our papers and ran for the afternoon Bootcamp!

The afternoon Bootcamp was for a group of A-level students. We walked in and I asked them why they were there (always important to gauge expectation). Comments like “to learn how to make a difference”, “do something new” and “to learn new skills” were offered. Perfect. We were off! Although the atmosphere was laden with anxiety over the imminent end of year exams, the students pushed through. Their chosen theme for their group social enterprise was chosen by themselves; The social inclusion of the elderly and intergeneration with young people.

Our ‘train the trainer’ Milika delivered the first segment and was professional and enthusiastic and on it went, each doing a great job and pushing through the nerves they felt. This was as much about them, as the Bootcamp participants we were training.

We looked at the community and different aspects of it as relating to their project, we helped them break the project down through an interactive module called PROMA© as well as set them an unexpected creativity social enterprise task! Here’s the interesting thing. Usually, people get participants to pitch to a panel of experts (we’ve sat on our fair share of those!), but I wanted them to pitch to a panel of their peers (the train the trainer students). This had a powerful effect and interesting dynamic on both sides.

The A-level students walked in with a desire to create change and knew their theme- but had no idea of what project they wanted to run or how to do it. Despite it being just a half a day Bootcamp, it’s important to us to support them to feel like they can go to the next stage (wherever they started from). We’re pleased that the A-level students were able to walk out with a solid concept, a name for it and a plan as to what they were going to do next. We won’t ruin the surprise, but it’s an absolutely brilliant idea and we look forward to keeping you updated on what happens next!

As for the Train the Trainer students – one of the participants who put himself forward, at his Bootcamp was extremely shy to say his own name, and yet stood up to co-deliver with us! At the end he said; “I don’t feel shy anymore”

 

For all enquiries about Bootcamps and social enterprise programmes, email: info@inspirEngage.com. Tweet us @inspirEngage / @Melody_Hossaini

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you the person who when given half an opportunity, you take it and run with it? Or are you the person who shrugs their shoulders and says ‘I can’t be bothered?’ – that’s the difference between success and failure. Success truly starts with a willingness to put in, say yes and show up. Yesterday InspirEngage launched the #SUCCESStour in partnership with NCS giving young people an opportunity to shape their own success. Thank you Hagley Catholic School for hosting the first stop of the tour- it was a pleasure speaking with your students.

This project comes as a continuation of our work with NCS since 2011 in delivering the InspirEngage Bootcamps as part of the Summer programme, training young people to develop the skills to firstly shape a solid social action project, but also on how to turn their social action project into a social enterprise. This way continuing to make a difference whilst also earning an income.

We look forward to the coming stops on the #SUCCESStour- see live developments on twitter: @InspirEngage / @Melody_Hossaini

 

Are you a school who wishes to host the #SUCCESStour for your students? Drop us a line on: info@inspirEngage.com

Are you 15-17 and want to find out more and sign up to NCS? Check out http://www.ncsyes.co.uk

Are you a provider and interested in the InspirEngage Social Enterprise Bootcamps for phase 2 of the Summer programme? Email info@inspirEngage.com

 

Today is InspirEngage Intrenational’s 7th birthday. I found myself reflecting on the journey thus far and why we do what we do. I often tell this story as something which puts the work of @inspirengage into perspective for me… it’s about a boy called Ashley…

A few years ago, I was doing a piece of work for Barclays bank on improving financial systems to help the homeless- in partnership with Centrepoint UK. I walk into the room & the young people are shouting, being disrespectful & rowdy. They were there mostly as they were getting a voucher. But very quickly, we had an understanding. I made it clear that I can’t possibly understand what they’re going through, but that this is an opportunity to create change. A change which would help future young people in their situation. I promised to do all I could personally to take it back to Barclays. All of a sudden when we cut the bs, they felt valued. They started putting their hands up to speak & began sharing their incredible stories. I listened & typed as quickly as I could whilst also trying to hold the tears back. They were stories you could barely imagine. These young people had witnessed scenes which a young person should not even see in films- never mind call their life.

There was this one boy- Ashley, who at the start was the most badly behaved. He admitted he goes to lengths he’s ashamed of for a piece of bread. This guy literally had nothing. Desperate. Had no one. His honesty showed his vulnerability and cry for help.

At the end of the session, Ashley came up to me. He said; “you know the community work you mentioned you do- how can I get involved to give back?” That moment changed everything for me. Here’s a guy who doesn’t have bread- has nothing but wants to GIVE BACK. (it still makes me emotional after all these years.)

I put him in touch with local @UKYP (who I was working with at the time) and he got involved in creating change by volunteering. Ashley will never know how much of an impact he made on me. It’s moments like that, which make us do what we do at @inspirEngage.

Thank you to everyone who inspires us- and who shares our mission as a social enterprise, to do well by doing good.

 

Melody Hossaini

Founder, InspirEngage International

 

 

 

Panel at JWEF Bahrain

Firstly Happy International Women’s Day 2016 to all the fabulous ladies out there and the men who appreciate them! Every IWD I write a blog about a story or message relating to my work on the advancement of women and this one is a special one about a moment that happened very recently that really shocked me and to those who ask ‘but why do we even need IWD still?’ – this is why!

Last month, I was invited to deliver a range of programmes with InspirEngage International in Bahrain. I’m no stranger to the region and had even previously delivered our Bootcamp in Bahrain. This time I was at the Junior World Entrepreneurship Forum- a gathering franchised across the world with the aim of supporting young people to launch their own businesses. Let me paint the scene. It’s day 2 of the conference, 200 people in the room, mostly young people (university students) but on the left side of the auditorium were 50 or so young boys aged 15/16. I’m on stage on a judging panel of an enterprise competition alongside a director of Intel and a gentlemen from one of the UN agencies. He’s talking about the general enterprise community of Bahrain and at one point he asks almost as a rhetorical question aimed at the young boys; “Would you guys ever work under a woman”. Before he’s finished his sentence, a few of the boys shout determinedly; “NO!”

The gentleman pauses but continues his talk generally. Once he’s finished, it’s time to announce the winner of the enterprise competition – but I can’t let it go. I take the mic and say “it’s my moral obligation to challenge you on what you said, in fact it’s all of our social responsibility” – my aim wasn’t to attack but to understand, so I asked if we could speak about it and why they said they would never work under a woman. One of the braver boys who had been most adamant answers “because men are more responsible” This interested me – so I said, “ok so what about if the woman had earned her way justifiably to the senior position – she was great at it, responsible and deserved it – would you work under her then?” – he still said “NO!”

By this point, the gentleman at my side was whispering in my ear to let it go and that they’re just young. The gentleman from the UN was back on the mic by this point saying that in Islam, prophet Mohammad worked for a woman and that it’s important to remember that, but then said something which deeply troubles me; “it’s women who raise children” so basically, if boys think like that then the mother is to blame. They were keen to move things on – and I didn’t even have a mic – so without a mic I persevered (not shown in video clip): I appreciate that every culture is different, religion is different and yes, places like the UK aren’t perfect in equality of gender either (in fact, we also have a long way to go) and this wasn’t about those specific boys, but about us questioning long-held beliefs that we automatically hold and thinking about the consequences of what our beliefs mean. I made the point that raising children and shaping society is more than just women’s responsibility – we all have a power to influence outcomes, and what point would there be to support the girls in the room to launch a business if half the population wouldn’t work for them- especially when Bahrain has no end of talent and potential, which was evident in our Bootcamps. More importantly – our societies are shaped by what we think, say and do; it wasn’t immediately about those boys but about the message it would give out to accept those views.

As I spoke passionately – I looked around at the faces of the women, wondering if they would step in or had a view on it. But the room was silent.

After the panel - the reaction of girls and boys

Interestingly, afterwards, a notable number of the women came up to me thanking me for speaking up, saying they were horrified too. We had an interesting conversation but I made it clear- “next time you hear something which you think should change and is wrong; in your own respectful way, speak up or you’re part of the problem”. I look up and 2 of the young boys from that group were there too – one said “we just wanted to come up to you and apologise on our friend’s behalf- hope it didn’t offend you.” I replied; “Thank you so much – that’s very mature of you. This isn’t about me and it’s not personal. This is about us provoking thought to create change. Here’s an idea – why don’t you go back to school and suggest to a teacher to have a discussion with the boys about this issue”. That was my bottom line aim in speaking out- not for people to adopt my thinking but to provoke thought and let people question opinions they’d previously held without considering an alternative. That’s how change starts.

We are all part of the solution.

For all enquiries: melody@inspirEngage.com
Tweet/ Ig: @Melody_Hossaini
Web: MelodyHossaini.com
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

The social enterprise movement in the UK has grown to be one of the leading eco-systems globally. InspirEngage International is working across the world, supporting the development of social enterprise- most recently in Hong Kong. Here’s an insight into what we observed in this growing economy.

On panel at Social Enterprise Summit Hong Kong, Chaired by Mr Timothy Ma

A beautiful country and former British colony- Hong Kong now stands proudly with much activity in its business sector, but what about social enterprise? I was invited to speak at the Social Enterprise Summit 2015- an annual event bringing together Government, Business and community to further efforts on social enterprise in Hong Kong.

Speaking at Social Enterprise Summit Hong Kong

As part of my international speaking tour ‘How To Change The World’ – I delivered a seminar + Q&A on the reform of education with social enterprise. I shared the InspirEngage programme ‘Social Enterprise Revolution’ where we have been able to enhance the curriculum by connecting it to life skills development and social enterprise – this way making learning real, making a difference in the community as well as giving students an opportunity to generate an income. See here for more information.

I was fascinated by the interest and questions within the seminar- seemed there was much interest in the connection to education and the role of parents. As part of the summit, I was also a guest at the HSBC Business Luncheon- attended by leaders of the corporate and political sector, discussing how to advance the collaboration between business and community. This also provided a valuable insight.

Having previously delivered InspirEngage programmes in the East Asia region, it’s always been apparent that the work-ethic is strong- but furthermore, there’s a natural spirit of social responsibility which is a powerful foundation for social enterprise. The skills are there and so is investment and funding opportunty- however, I discovered other trends which I believe could be a barrier. There seems to be a notable fear of risk. People are in search of a tried and tested model and a source of support – as opposed to a hunger to innovate (which was much more the case in the UK- the social enterprise sector wanted to find another alternative to the status quo & innovate real change). It’s an interesting predicament, which I feel undervalues the power that is held by the people of Hong Kong who have every reason to be creative.

Topic of Educational Reform with Social Enterprise

There are currently 500 social enterprises in Hong Kong- almost all of which are extremely small-scale initiatives, only 2 having gained investment. There are certainly more; those who are operating with a social mission, but aren’t aware they could be a social enterprise. Either way, it’s the task of those who attended the conference to give growth to this figure.

Much can be done- impact investment, scaling-up of the current social enterprises, capturing and sharing the stories of the local social entrepreneurs, connecting it to the curriculum and also general awareness-raising.

The year of 2016 will be a significant one in the quest to strengthen the social enterprise sector in Hong Kong, as they get ready to host the 2 substantial social enterprise conferences- so watch this space!

Melody Hossaini
Tweet: @Melody_Hossaini / @inspirEngage

Recent data from the 2015 Social Enterprise Survey shows a diverse sector exceeding expectations in both growth and impact.

Over half of social enterprises have seen an increase in their turnover in the last year; this is partly due to innovation. Around 59% of organisations have developed a new product or service in 2014, 39% have expanded into new geographic areas and 83% have attracted new customers or clients.

On diversity, the social enterprise sector largely outperforms other businesses, with 40% now women led compared to 18% of SME’s- also worth noting that 91% of social enterprise leadership teams have at least one woman in them, and 11% of leaders are from a minority ethnic background.

“Social enterprises are transforming the way business is done. What this data shows is that they are continuing to expand, to do good and to change the lives of individuals and communities. When it comes to female and minority ethnic leadership, they are miles ahead of the pack. Of course there are challenges, but from these initial findings the sector is clearly in a strong and healthy position.” Peter Holbrook CBE, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK

The sector has come a long way, and at InspirEngage International we are focusing on developing skills of young people, women and businesses to be successful with a social conscience. See more info about our programmes on InspirEngage and our youtube channel to get a real flavor of how we are helping new social enterprises to come to life.

Overview of stats from the 2015 Social Enterprise Survey
• 5% of all businesses are social enterprises
• 52% increased turnover last year
• 39% have expanded into new geographic areas
• 59% have developed new products & services
• 83% have attracted new customers or clients
• 40% of social enterprise leaders are female
• 11% of social enterprise leaders are from minority ethnic backgrounds

Watch some relevant videos below:



 

Immigrant Social Entrepreneur in England awarded ‘Europe’s Most Influential Woman’

Melody Hossaini, accepting her award in the European Parliament, Brussels. 4 June 2015

Melody Hossaini, who was a star on BBC’s The Apprentice in 2011, was awarded ‘New European Woman Influencer’ of 2015 inside the European Parliament on 4 June.

The first New European Awards is an awards ceremony organised by UNITEE – The New European Business Confederation under the high patronage of the European Parliament. Its aim is to recognise and celebrate the contributions of New Europeans- Europeans with a migrant background. In particular, this year’s awards honoured four special categories: New European entrepreneur; New European Politician; New European Woman Influencer; and New European of the Year.

Melody, who was originally born in Iran and raised in Sweden, moved to the UK at the age of 13 and volunteered in her community for 11 years to champion young people, before setting up the successful social enterprise, InspirEngage International, in 2009 with the aim of training people to be successful by giving back. Since then, Melody has helped educational institutions to better prepare their students for the world of business and work, trained vulnerable adult women to become economically active through social enterprise and guided corporates to better engage with communities through innovative CSR models. She was the first social entrepreneur to appear on ‘The Apprentice’ being described by Lord Sugar as a ‘woman of exceptional ability’.

‘This award really is an honour for me. The journey as an immigrant to being able to transform communities, is one that has become my life. I’m so inspired by the people we train, who work tirelessly with so little. They inspire me to do more.’ Melody said. ‘We’re passionate about helping people to explore social enterprise as a vehicle to create change.’

A member of the judging panel, Viviane Teitelbaum, President of the European Women Network, stated ‘Melody’s commitment in the youth sector and social entrepreneurship in the UK is exemplary of the values we support at the European Women’s Lobby. Her support to young people and vulnerable women to develop the essential skills in order to be successful by giving back to people and society meets our aims. Melody is a wonderful role model for women and an influencer we will certainly hear more about in the future!’

Amongst the other winners was Congo-born Vincent Kompany, captain of Manchester City, whose father was there to accept the award on his behalf.

Winners, MEPs, Judges & hosts at the Awards

In a time when Europe is struggling to compete on the economic stage, immigrants and minorities are often, in the public discourse, discriminated and seen as a danger or a drag on public finances. The New European Awards want to change this narrative: far from being a problem, diversity and immigration are changing Europe for the best, and contribute to keep it smart, innovative and open to the world. The Awards will finally give New Europeans and the diversity they bring about the acknowledgement they deserve.

The ceremony took place in the prestigious Yehudi Menuhin room in the European Parliament, to celebrate and honour those New European personalities, who, thanks to their multiple background, have achieved important successes in their professional lives. By acknowledging the winners’ talents not only will the value-added of diversity be shown, but they will serve as New European Ambassadors: role models for the present and future New Europeans. Showing that not only integration is possible, but that it is conducive to success in the broader society.

Melody’s Acceptance Speech inside the European Parliament


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Contact Monica Rean at InspirEngage International for any press enquiries or media pieces : info@inspirEngage.com / +44 (0) 7963 522067

Watch Melody speaking at TEDx about ‘The Social Enterprise Revolution’ here.

 

Great example of women turning to social enterprise to make a difference!

One of our Startup and Stiletto graduates, Patricia Bidi, running her social mission to give children in her community something to do through Art!

Last year I trained a lovely and vibrant lady called Patricia Bidi for an InspirEngage International programme called ‘Startup & Stilettos- The Future is Female’ in partnership with Hillcroft College, where we help women to make money whilst making a difference through social enterprise. She recently sent me these photos of a community painting session she held for 10 children on her council estate to give them something to do and learn new skills, through fun Art sessions. She bought her own materials and tools and the local church gave her access to their space. The children loved it! Although her resources are limited, Patricia ploughs on to help, saying “children deserve the best.” So great to see this progress Patricia- you’re wonderful!

Startup and Stilettos is an InspirEngage programme, helping women to become economically active through social enterprise. We train participants to be confident (often the greatest barrier), to adopt vital life skills to be able to come up with their own social concept to create change but also provide an income. For all enquiries, email info@inspirEngage.com

 
Want to know what Social Enterprise is? Watch the InspirEngage definition in this 39 second film! > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuOhwPEiXPw

Social Enterprise = Business with a Good Cause. Makes money as well as improves communities and helps its people. Here’s why social enterprise is the best business model.

Business where you can make money as well as make a difference? Sounds perfect. And it is for those going into business. In 2011, I predicted that social enterprise would be the business model of the future and so far it’s looking like we are definitely headed that way, and perhaps even, ahead of schedule. 2014 was the year that truly cemented social enterprise. Despite the recession social enterprises are overtaking mainstream businesses – 58% of social enterprises grew their business last year compared to 28% of SMEs.

In 2015 it looks set to be the year that social enterprise makes its way from the sidelines to the mainstream of business. Too right and here’s why social enterprise is the best business model.

  • Consumers: Within a very saturated market, consumers now want to buy something with narrative. Social enterprise offers that narrative. We are seeing a shift in consumer approach towards asking where their product comes from and what impact it has. Now more than ever, we’re more likely to buy products which we know will help people and are sourced fairly (like Divine chocolate). On this point it’s also important to say that social enterprises won’t and can’t achieve their aim unless people buy social. It’s on all of us to choose to buy from sources that can have a positive social impact!
  • Investors and Supporters: Not only do consumers want to buy ethically and have impact with their spending- but so do investors. ‘Angel News’ who are an organisation that have a network of Angel Investors, stated that one of the reasons investors invest once they’ve reached a certain level of success, is so that they can give back (as well as make a return on their investment). Social enterprise fits this notion. There’s never been a greater appetite amongst investors. In the last budget announcement by the Chancellor, we saw the introduction of tax relief in investment in social enterprises. It’s not only attractive for investors, but also gaining support of mentors, who similarly to investors, want to give back, and have a growing appetite to support those with a social mission.
  • Solving Social Issues: Perhaps, most importantly, social enterprises aren’t just contributing to UK’s economy, but also improving our communities, helping vulnerable groups of society and allowing people to make passion their career! From reusing wasted items to providing relief for the hungry to creating jobs for our young people – social enterprises are working hard to help solve the imminent social problems facing us. This will also save us money- money that it would have cost the Government to try to solve it later. Young people, who form a large part of social enterprise founders, are seeing a natural progression from volunteering within their communities, into social enterprise (how I got started myself).

Read the next blog: ‘How To Set Up Your Social Enterprise’http://www.melodyhossaini.com/2015/02/how-to-launch-a-social-enterprise/

Here at InspirEngage International, we are passionate about supporting young people and women to start their social enterprises by way of delivering our Bootcamps, as well as supporting corporates to adopt a socially enterprising approach. Join the Social Enterprise Revolution!

Melody Hossaini.

For all enquiries, email info@inspirEngage.com. Tweet us @inspirEngage / @Melody_Hossaini / @SocEnt_Rev

 

 

‘The Social Enterprise Revolution’ by Melody Hossaini at TEDx

Last blog of 2014

It’s been a year of enterprise booming in Britain (most notably social enterprise), of Gogglebox making us laugh and Google becoming more valuable than Russia! As always, the year has flown by way too quickly, packed with exciting developments both at InspirEngage International and in my personal life. Here are my highlights.

InspirEngage International has had an exciting 2014:

  • Startup and Stilettos has been growing and helping more women to launch their social enterprises. One of the ladies, Patricia made her dreams come true by setting up a business selling her art, using profits to help young people in her area have something to do

    Startup & Stilettos

    and create their own Art which they can sell! We also branched out and for the first time ever delivered a Social Media Bootcamp in partnership with Hillcroft College and Astonish Email. This is vital for adult women and it was really well-received inopening a whole new world of possibilities. Blog on this here > http://www.melodyhossaini.com/2014/07/startup-stilettos-social-media-for-adult-women/ Another highlight was attending and contributing at G8 Summit in London on women in the Arab world attended by the World Bank, Eve Branson, Cherie Blair and Royal family members.

  • Social Enterprise Revolution – Embedding social enterprise into the curriculum, this year featured in the Lord Young ‘Enterprise For All’ report. Our first year has come to an end with our Pioneer Colleges. We’ve seen several social enterprises being born by students- impacting their communities, making money and being assessed in their curriculum. Here’s an insight into our work at Harrow College > http://www.melodyhossaini.com/2014/08/social-enterprise-revolution-harrow-college/
  • InspirEngage Grows! – This year InspirEngage has expanded our team by taking on new expert Trainers as well as extended our intake of Young Ambassadors, Patrons (including Princess Badiya of Jordan) and Mentors. A special thank you to everyone who make up the InspirEngage story.
  • Personal news: Kian… My 2014 is defined by me becoming a mother. On 10 September, I gave birth to a little boy who has changed my world. We named him Kian (name of the ancient Persian Kings – pronounced ‘Kee-aan’). He’s a happy little boy and a social entrepreneur in training! I regularly baby-blog; keep an eye!

Kian and I

Wanted to take this opportunity to wish you all a wonderful 2015 ahead.

Throw Kindness Around Like Confetti!

 

My husband and I with our expectant little one

I am beyond delighted to announce that I AM PREGNANT! I know that so many of you have guessed and it’s getting hard to hide it, as I’m over 3 months pregnant now! The baby is due very close to my 30th Birthday in September.

My husband and I are beyond happy- when we found out, we were in a state of utter euphoria and feeling truly blessed. The feeling is difficult to put into words, and I can honestly say, I have never been happier in my life than I am right now.

When the new year started, I said to my husband that I was going to the doctors to start thinking about having a baby and ask for a test to check my fertility level- so she wrote me a letter of reference for the tests and also asked for me to do a pregnancy test before I go. I told her, I am not pregnant, but she insisted I take a pregnancy test before I go. I took it, and it was positive! We screamed for about 10 minutes then drove at speed to my mother’s house to share the good news! She then screamed and laughed with joy for another 10 minutes!

How we told our friends the news!

It really has been the best news to share with loved ones and I’m happy to finally be able to share it with all of you! My husband came up with the idea of ordering some fortune cookies with a message inside. It was a really lovely way to share the news with friends! (see photo)

Aside from the nausea and eating 6 times a day (yes!!), it’s also been a time of preparation for adjustment. I have been working in the youth sector since the age of 13, and InspirEngage International is my baby. It’s going to be an interesting time of change going from this baby to a real baby! A journey I really look forward to.

I will be writing a regular blog about the development of my pregnancy including nursery, the growing bump in pictures and how I manage to balance business with my new responsibilities. Keep an eye!

For now, I am glad you guys finally know! Ice, ice babyyyyy!

Melody xx

Tweet me: @Melody_Hossaini