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 Tweet: @inspirEngage / @Melody_Hossaini

Watch Melody speaking at TEDx Women in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Finally telling you what I really think of the EU Referendum

On Thursday 23 June the UK will vote to remain or leave the European Union. I’ve heard people speak about ‘immigrants’ as if they’re a faceless group- well here’s what I think about the EU referendum as an immigrant’s point of view, social entrepreneur and a youth engagement expert.


Today also marks the first day of global refugee week which I am so proud to support as part of the #IAmARefugee campaign to help humanise the migration debate. See more information here.
Let me know what you think- Tweet/ Insta: @Melody_Hossaini

Refugee plaques including mine on website

Monday 20th June marks the start of International Refugee Week- and with it the ‘I am a Refugee’ campaign led by JCWI. I am delighted to be part of this important aim to humanise the migration debate in people’s minds as well as to celebrate the positive (and in some cases) world-changing contribution made by refugees right here in the UK. See

I’m honoured to be in the company of people like Judith Kerr (author), Michael Marks (co-founder of Marks & Spencer), and Rita Ora (singer) and who are just some of the remarkable refugees supporting the mission, with plaques being displayed at St Paul’s Cathedral all week (see pic below). My own personal plaque will also be displayed at my University, Oxford Brookes and will be unveiled on Monday 20th June.

Plaques displayed at St Paul's Cathedral London

As we mark the start of International Refugee Week, there is an alarming number of refugees with uncertain futures. The unfairness & disgust with which I hear immigrants & refugees being talked about, reminds me of dark times in history. The most vulnerable people in our world are being scapegoated and this is unjust.

As many of you know, my family and I fled from Iran during the Gulf war of the 80s when I was 2 years old. Fleeing by land with two small children, is not an easy task my parents embarked upon, but they wanted better lives for us here in Europe. Contrary to what many still believe, no one wants to flee their home, their relatives, their lives and everything they know and take such a big risk- especially with children. People do it when they feel they have no other choice. We helped create these circumstances (as a world), so we must also help bear the brunt of the result. Otherwise it’s like inviting someone for dinner and expecting them to pick up the bill.

I grew up in Sweden where I lived for 11 years before moving to the UK at the age of 13. Since the age of 13, I committed myself to helping and developing opportunities for young people in British communities- becoming co-founder of UK Youth Parliament (collecting the most petitions which were presented to 10 Downing Street) and together, managed to change policies to benefit those who most needed it. Fast forward, and 18 years later I’m still in the same sector, as a social entrepreneur and Founder of InspirEngage International, supporting people and businesses to do well by doing good. I am most proud of the victimised women we helped to become economically active, the young people who had lost hope that we helped into purposeful employment and the businesses we’ve supported to be more socially conscious.

I’m proud of being an ex-war refugee & immigrant in this country- having contributed what I have to British communities. And yet, time and time again, I hear people speaking of immigrants and refugees as if they are a faceless group- a group you can speak about, as you surely are never faced with one. A group we can blame, because they aren’t powerful enough to affect us. This campaign shows you profiles of those- the ones some feel are draining this country, who have made the UK what it is today.

As we approach the EU Referendum vote on Thursday 23 June, I catch glimpses of conversations on the news and wonder if it’s a film. Why have we gone back in time? Is it an EU Referendum or an immigration vote – it seems interchangeable. A ‘them and us’ attitude and politicise are never good for Britain and the world. In the long term, this will harm our communities. As a non-UK national, I will be locked out of the voting station on Thursday, but I urge you to use your vote.

In the meantime, let’s celebrate International Refugee Week and the people who have contributed to this country, but most importantly, continue fighting for the rights of protection of those whose futures remain uncertain.


(email: Tweet/ insta: @Melody_Hossaini)


‘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



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



On BBC The Apprentice as the first social entrepreneur

Everyone likes their comfort zone! Course they do! It’s where we feel safe, unthreatened and confident! It’s also the place that doesn’t need us to push, to grow or prove anything to anyone. In other words- the place which stays the same. Here’s why staying in your comfort zone for too long, will make it the most uncomfortable place you’ve ever been.

People ask me how I began the work I do in the community and youth sector. When I was 13 years old, I went along to a meeting held in the Birmingham Town Hall about an idea to launch a UK Youth Parliament. That kickstarted my journey. I stayed involved, became one of the co-founding team members and made a big difference to my community on a national and international level. However, it wasn’t as easy as that on a personal level. I had recently moved to the UK – English was my third language, and whilst sitting in those early meetings with MPs in the Houses of Parliament and discussing frameworks, strategies and petitions (none of which I even knew the meaning of entirely), including presenting petitions to Tony Blair in his office at No10, I was so out of my comfort zone. The only thing which kept me returning to those boardrooms in London, was the sheer passion and acute awareness that what we were doing to benefit communities was far more important than my fear.

The other example of course is deciding to go on BBC’s The Apprentice in 2011 as the first ever social entrepreneur. Frightened to death – but there I was, putting myself forward to be Project Manager in week 1. That’s who I am. All in – wanting to grow, to face it head on and yes, sometimes you win, sometimes you get to week 10 out of 12! But I see life as chapters of experience- that have to be lived.

Those years of ‘discomfort’ taught me lessons, far more valuable than anything could have. I grew as a person. I pushed myself and learned to control and face situations which may not be my ideal scenarios – because trust me, regardless of how comfortable you try to keep yourself, those moments creep up in life.

Now here’s the thing. What happens if we never grow- what if we don’t even want to go outside of our comfort zone – we’re cool staying where we are. Well, life is kind of funny that way. It will evolve without you. Reminders here and there showing you what you could have been and could have achieved or experienced, but didn’t. Or, a glimpse into opportunities missed, or simply feeling fed up and unfulfilled after years of standing still. Believe me- that will feel the most uncomfortable place you’ve ever been.

So what can you do? Start with moments. Next time you feel a bit uncomfortable & nervous about something, could be someone asking you to go somewhere new perhaps- say yes. Try it. Reflect on what you learned. See, it wasn’t so bad! From there, go to bigger things. Maybe a career change- something you never thought you could do- try it out by volunteering for a couple of weekends (if appropriate), think about it and make a plan whatever it is!

Make a change! Grow. Don’t live the same year 80 times and call it life. Live it and make the most of the vast potential you hold.
Love to hear your thoughts- tweet/instagram me: @Melody_Hossaini

For all speaking enquiries, email:



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:


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

Big Brother, X Factor and The Apprentice – just some of the big reality shows dominating our screens. But what’s the truth behind it all and where do we draw the line?

Last year, I was invited to Birmingham City University to join a panel chaired by Matthew Wright, joined by Steve Brookstein, Donal MacIntrye, Melody Hossaini and Sinitta. It was an interesting revelation of secrets behind the show and discussion as to whether as viewers we are asking for more and more, hence pressure building on TV producers to shock us, yet we then moan that this isn’t reality.

In my view, reality TV has been forced to become unreal in order to feed our ever-growing need for entertainment. This is a shame, but it’s also what those who go on reality shows (like myself on The Apprentice), signed up for.

Watch this taster video of the discussion at BCU:




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 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.


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 >

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

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!



I witnessed a lovely Random Act of Kindness in my community. When I told the person that what they’re doing is a lovely thing, they told me that people probably wouldn’t care. I wanted to prove that wrong……

Ed and his lovely dog Daisy

Meet Ed and Daisy. In the past week, I have noticed Ed walking his dog around my area and whilst walking around, he picks up other people’s litter. I talked to him one of the days when I was out walking with Kian (my 10 month old son), and I told him what a wonderful thing he is doing. I asked him if I could take a photo as I wanted to share his random act of kindness with all of you. He laughed and said- people will probably not care! I wanted to prove him wrong. That evening, I posted the following across my twitter, instagram and Facebook social media accounts (with the photo above):

“This is Ed & his dog Daisy. They live in my area. Every night after work, Ed takes Daisy for a walk and whilst going around, he picks up litter in his little plastic bag. And he does this with a smile on his face! Have spoken to him a couple of times and tonight when I approached him and asked if I could take a pic and post about what he does to you guys, he was surprised about why anyone would even care or that is in fact a big deal. Next time I see him on my walks with Kian, I’ll let him know what you guys have said! People like Ed make an area, a community. Show them love! ‪#‎community‬ ‪#‎kindness‬ ‪#‎randomactofkindness‬

Sure enough- the love rolled in! Comments like:

All your comments + my note to Ed

Peggie Allison: It’s all the small things that really matter in life.

Jay Miah Bless him! We need more people like him in the world! keep it up ed! Ur awesome

Farzana Nazir-Mohammed Melody this is amazing and good for you for highlighting such great acts of kindness . People like Ed deserve to be popular on social media because they actually set a great example for others to follow. Best wishes to Ed and Daisy and may nothing but good be returned to them. XOXO.!

In 24 hours, my posts had been viewed by some 11,000 people with 3 pages worth of lovely comments! I collated it all, printed it and put a little note on it. The next day, I gave Ed this. He was absolutely shocked as he looked through your beautiful remarks about his act of kindness. He’s a very manly man! He said he doesn’t know how to react to compliments, as he almost welled up!

With Ed & Daisy after giving him the print-out (in Ed's hand!)

There are so many people in our communities who do their little bit to make our world better. We need to create a society that recognises this and makes those people feel appreciated. Kindness is infectious – it gives people energy. Thank you to those who contributed in making Ed feel appreciated. Next time you see kindness, make that person feel good about themselves. It will undoubtedly make them want to do more. The little things matter.


Melody x












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


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)


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:



UNESCO Paris 2013

Do you consider yourself wealthy? When thinking about it, how do you measure it? This Vlog is inspired by a conversation I had with a young person in my community, who carries herself with dignity and poise despite not having the material things her other friends have. This Vlog is about how to increase your value, 1.37min.


Tweet us your thoughts on @Melody_Hossaini

Last week I received an email saying that I had been nominated for an award. I had no idea, and they had found me online. A few days later, i received an email saying that I had won the award and inviting me to accept it in the European Parliament. And what a day yesterday was! You think of awards, you think glitz and glamour, but all is not what it seems! :) Keep reading!

4 June 2015. Accepting the award, European Parliament

Yesterday, (4th June 2015), I was up early, made my way to London to deliver the InspirEngage Bootcamp for finalists of Mosaic’s Enterprise Challenge, as we do every year. The students have a social enterprise concept and we help them bring it to life. This year it was held at the swanky new community spaces at KPMG, Canary Wharf. Delivered it, ran (with very awkward sandals) to the Eurostar, with my suitcase in tow.

InspirEngage Bootcamp for Mosaic students at KPMG

Got on the Eurostar, had a lovely chat with a gent I met called Rick, about the collision of the political and business world and the role of digital and social media in connecting the two- absolutely fascinating! Didn’t even realise the train, en route, was 30 minutes delayed! Got to Brussels and had planned to go to the hotel, get changed and drop off my suitcase before going to the awards, but had no time. Instead, I had to go to the public toilets which never pleasant as it is, in train stations) and get changed there! It was boiling hot weather, so inside the toilets, it was even warmer, and try pulling your tights on in a small space, sweating like a pig, trying to balance yourself on the little pieces of toilet paper you have laid out on the floor and pulling your dress on! I think I should have an award just for that! :) Quickly did my make up a little, attempted to do something with my hair with the lady using the basin next to me, suggesting I have it down- so I told her ‘Because you said so, that’s what I’ll do!’. So here I am, like a modern day superman (*woman), I go into the toilets with a Tshirt and leggings, and come out with dress, heels and sparkles! The odd glances I got as I was running through the train station (still sweating!), was awkward! But I had somewhere to be!

As good as it was going to get!

I finally get to the European Parliament- go up 10 steps (with my suitcase!) only to be told I’m at the wrong entrance… so I climb another 20 steps (much to the amusement of the guards!) and finally get to the right place! And after faffing again with my suitcase to even get through security (the European Parliament security is like an airport- you have to take your laptop out and all), I finally get in and my lovely hosts take me to my seat.

This award meant a lot to me. It recognised my journey starting as an immigrant and asylum seeker to giving back to my community. The other day when I shared that I had received it, I got so many email from you (mostly young girls) saying they were so happy for me. It made me realise that you’re on the journey with me. My victory is yours and likewise, when I see other women and girls doing well, it’s like I’ve won too. That’s what I am most thankful for.

The New European awards was the first of its kind and first year they have run it. To recognise the talents and contributions of those European Nationals who originated from outside Europe. Among the 3 other winners was Vincent Kompany (the Belgian captain and Manchester City player). It was a lovely evening, and I was very humbled by this incredible honour.

I will be uploading the video of my speech and acceptance of the award to my youtube channel (make sure to subscribe to ‘Melody Hossaini’). But in the meantime, I want to thank all of you, who enrich the mission. Our mission to support more people to be successful, happy by giving back.





Social Enterprise Presentation at Startup 2015, by Melody Hossaini

Is social enterprise our mainstream business model? Why are consumers more likely to buy from a social enterprise than any other business? What are the measures of success for social enterprises? All this and more in this latest video, sharing a snapshot of my presentation at Startup 2015 conference, hosted by Enterprise Nation at the beautiful Somerset House, London.

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Thank you to our friends at Onerion for making this video.