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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

BOSTON COLLEGE JOINS THE “SOCIAL ENTERPRISE REVOLUTION!”

Revolutionise Enterprise – Go Social!

Boston College are the latest College to dip their feet into ‘Social Enterprise Revolution’ by running a taster day on 21st April 2015. The programme, which was launched in 2013 by InspirEngage International and featured in Lord Young’s ‘Enterprise For All’ report, trains students to become successful by giving back, with a connection to their curriculum.

The day, which will include a Skills Bootcamp for learners followed by an interactive conference for businesses and local community, will be delivered by InspirEngage CEO and the first ever social entrepreneur to appear on BBC’s ‘The Apprentice’; Melody Hossaini. Boston College are working in partnership with Taylor iTEX CIC and UnLtd to fund and support social entrepreneurs and some of the awardees will be attending the day to share their story. The conference is in conjunction with Boosting the Local Economy, supported by Boston Big Local and UnLtd

Melody Hossaini: Founder of InspirEngage International – portfolio in over 100 countries, reached over 1 million people; experts in training people to be successful by giving back. Former war asylum-seeker from Iran, award-winning female social entrepreneur, started aged 13, based in the UK, grew up in Sweden, has travelled the world. Trained by Nobel Laureates Desmond Tutu on Peace Implementation at PeaceJam in LA and former Vice-President Al Gore on Climate Change at Cambridge in 2007.

In 2011, Melody was selected over 70,000 people to be on BBC’s ‘The Apprentice’, became the first ever social entrepreneur to appear on the show, making it to week 10 out of 12, being described by Lord Sugar as ‘a woman of exceptional ability’. As featured on CNBC, Channel 4’s ‘Battlefront’, BBC 1’s ‘Show Me The Money’, HRH the Queen’s 2009 Christmas Day speech (for projects at CHOGM) and regular writer for The Guardian. Melody is a professional speaker, skills trainer, blogger and a new mum.

Twitter handles: @bcezone / @InspirEngage / @Melody_Hossaini / @SocEnt_Rev – #GoSocEnt

See original post by Boston Collegehttps://enterprisezoneboston.wordpress.com/2015/03/16/boston-college-joins-the-social-enterprise-revolution-2/

Watch what happened with ‘Social Enterprise Revolution’ at Harrow College:

 

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

In 2013, Harrow College became a national Pioneer of Social Enterprise Revolution- an InspirEngage programme and the UK’s first hands-on programme to embed social enterprise into the curriculum of schools, colleges and universities. By incorporating social enterprise into their curriculum, they took an innovative approach to pathways into work for students. Here’s the round-up!
 

The InspirEngage team put the students through the intense 8 Skills Bootcamps and Incubator throughout the academic year to develop core skills to launch their own social enterprise connected to the curriculum area. Make money and make a difference!

Student projects included,

  • Hair, Beauty and Love! > One group of students took the initiative to organise an event to offer their hair and beauty services to staff and visitors of Great Ormond Street Hospital. Fees from treatments offered were donated to the renowned children’s hospital
  • Bringing cultures together! > A group of female students felt passionately about celebrating and bridging the gap between various cultures in their community and planned a wonderful event with culture food and dance that students contributed to!
  • Be active- be healthy! > If young people have something to do and somewhere to go, they can get out their houses and be active and lead healthier lifestyles. This group of students organised outdoor games for young people in their area.

One student said, ‘I’ve found it very inspirational, because you’re doing something to help someone- which is a good thing for us teenagers – doing something good to help and give back to our community.’

As part of the programme students promote their social enterprise projects at the end of programme Showcase Day. On reflection one student said, ‘Social Enterprise Revolution has helped me develop my future. I know better what I might be doing and I’ve gained knowledge in business and my future is a bit clearer now, than it was a few months ago’.

After Showcase Day, students who have successfully completed the one year programme attend the Social Enterprise Revolution Graduation Day! After graduating, one student said, ‘Social Enterprise Revolution has helped me develop my employability skills, my leadership and management qualities and I am more confident about my future and I’ve got a better idea of how to start and run a business thanks to Social Enterprise Revolution – thank you’.

InspirEngage Mentors, Hannah Catmur and Seun Oshinaike who are successful young entrepreneurs gave up their time to support the students on their enterprise journey at one of the InspirEngage Bootcamps.

InspirEngage Founder and CEO, Melody Hossaini said at the “Amidst a time when there is so much pressure on educational institutions to think innovatively about pathways into work for students, I would like to congratulate Harrow College for adopting social enterprise within their curriculum. Over the course of the year, we have seen positive development in the students, and feel Social Enterprise Revolution finally offers the opportunity for formal education and creative social enterprise to collide.”

Benefits of Social Enterprise Revolution:

  • Allows students to develop their life skills
  • Make their learning real by connecting it to local community causes
  • Develop an enterprising mindset
  • Students make money & start potential work whilst still in education
  • Educational institutions become national Pioneers of Social Enterprise

For all enquiries email: info@inspirEngage.com

Tweet: @SocEnt_Rev / @InspirEngage

How do we create 1 billion jobs for young people?

Melody Hossaini answers at the Youth Job Creation Summit. In a nutshell: Through Social Enterprise!

 

 

Youth unemployment crisis

The youth unemployment crisis is an issue that has been ongoing for a while. Whilst it is easy to say the youth unemployment crisis needs to be solved, the question is does it need to be solved? Problems need to be solved however the youth unemployment crisis is NOT a problem. Despite the figures, stats, and constant negative perception about this issue, there are lots of opportunities to be taken here. If the youth crisis is looked at with a positive view, this perception will have a domino effect that will be passed through to the younger generations.

If one was to suggest the Youth crisis was in fact a problem, one could say a huge solution is required. The economy and the business world required change anyway, regardless of the youth unemployment crisis. It was heading towards destruction and needed to be directed onto the right path. The youth unemployment crisis triggered change and change is what was needed to head back onto the right path. Radical changes can only come from huge problems as huge challenges. The business world can only get better so the youth unemployment crisis is NOT a problem and definitely should not be perceived as one.

How to create a billion jobs for young people- through social enterprise

To be very clear and practical, there are many ways this can be done. One clear way this can be done is through social enterprise. This idea has already been talked about in the past how if businesses are doing well and creating employment opportunities for the youth of today they can create jobs for themselves.  However a business that has the potential to improve communities is surely much better. InspirEngage is very passionate about this, a social enterprise themselves wanting to create further social enterprises and naturally social entrepreneurs.

3 driving factors that explain why the world is heading towards social enterprise

1)    The first factor that explains why social enterprises are becoming more popular is the world is moving away from competitive models into collaborative models. At one time, every business was competing with each other however increasingly there is a shift for people/groups/businesses to work together.  Women and young people are in tune with these collaborative models and that is why they are leading social enterprise. In the UK social enterprise is the number 1 job creator for young people. This is a great opportunity that has come out of the youth unemployment crisis. If it wasn’t for the young people seeking new exciting opportunities, social enterprise wouldn’t be on the boom it is currently on.

2) The second thing is the ‘Passion Phenomenon’ as it is described by InspireEngage. Previously, it is fair to say that people were generally embarrassed to say what they were passionate about. Now, everyone is talking proudly of what they are passionate about and additionally, how they can turn their passion into a career. If one’s passion is to help others, younger people or communities- this is social enterprise and when this kind of passion is turned into a career this is how social enterprise is trending.

3) When the chips are down, social enterprises are born! This is the final factor that explains why social enterprise is on the up; if everything was good in the business world previously, would the younger generations have been as keen and energetic to look for new opportunities? It takes a trigger like the ongoing youth unemployment crisis to arrive at exciting opportunities such as social enterprises. What’s on the other side is a better world. We were getting too greedy.

Solution-How to create the jobs?

To answer this question simply, EDUCATION. The idea of embedding social enterprise into the curriculum could create many, many jobs. It is embedded into the curriculum, not in the traditional way where it is taught in a lecture/seminar but across the curriculum in all subjects. Imagine 3 things, firstly young people developing life skills where it is encouraged within the curriculum. Confidence, interpersonal skills and teamwork are a few examples of the skills that young people should develop whilst at school. Previously, these kind of skills were not taught in schools and many establishments encourage younger generations to seek work experience, extra curricular activities to gain these skills. It was never in the curriculum before though.

Secondly, imagine a curriculum that allows you to develop a job whilst still at school/ college/uni and finally imagine if that job also benefits your community.

This would mean that not only are younger generations gaining an education that will allow them to pursue a career in there chosen field, they are also gaining the skills that will allow them to go out and get that career. This is what InspireEnagage have allowed with there brilliant, innovative programme called Social Enterprise Revolution. It has been launched nationally and no doubt will be a roaring success.

All that remains to be said is the revolution is happening, when are you going to join?

 

 

 

 

 

Passion. It’s one of those funny words, that if you google it naughty pictures come up! So the last thing you would do is associate it with your career right? Wrong. InspirEngage International has termed the change in the way we view careers and what drives us, as ‘The Passion Phenomenon’. Doing something you love and feel passionately about is now fast becoming the top factor in career satisfaction. And so it should be!

Social Enterprise is one of the most appealing ways in which you can make passion your career. Listen to my latest Vlog on why ‘The Passion Phenomenon’ should be something you’re very familiar with indeed!

 

Let us know what you think by tweeting @Melody_Hossaini / @inspirEngage and use hashtag: #PassionPhenomenon

This week, I was honoured to be invited to Malaysia to speak at TEDx – but not just any TEDx but TEDx Women. All across the world, on the same day, leading inspirational women come together to present ideas worth sharing.

It was my third time on business in Malaysia, having only just returned from there last month after speaking at the 4th GES (Global Entrepreneurship Summit).

Above anything else, I enjoy working in the East Asian countries due to its warm and inviting culture. In the first couple of years of establishing InspirEngage International, we delivered a lot of Bootcamps across the region including Japan, Indonesia and Malaysia- each time working with young people from across all the countries in the region for 1 week at a time. Despite this familiarity with the culture, it still doesn’t fail to move and astound me. It’s the little things- such as, when networking, they present a business card with both hands as a sign of respect- when they thank someone they gather themselves almost and lightly bow, when you need something, they go above and beyond and even run as opposed to walk.

But above all, there’s a certain spirit in the culture that is much more difficult to describe- but can be felt and seen in the way they support eachother, in the way the women display a type of sisterhood and in business, how they very naturally collaborate. This is also seen in their ability to seamlessly integrate the various religions and backgrounds (mainly Chinese and Indian into the Malay).

All of this contributes to the essence and eco-system of social enterprise. However, interestingly, the UK is some 4 years ahead in developments in the social enterprise sector.

My TEDx talk was titled: ‘Social Enterprise Revolution and Why the Future is Female’. I gave a considerable amount of time (including waking up at early hours of the morning to make final amendments) to think about my message and points I wanted to cover- afterall, I only had a very strict 18 minutes!

I decided to focus on; the real meaning of social enterprise, the ‘new world’ indicators in force, why a large proportion of women find a natural fit in social enterprise business models and what we need to do in order to go forward.

Here are 3 x 15second videos providing a sneaky peak (Copy and paste links into web browser- the full video will be appearing on the official TEDx Youtube channel soon):

http://instagram.com/p/hpj9Ygyyc8/
instagram.com/p/hjMguJSycL/
http://instagram.com/p/hjAWLBSybB/

I was so touched by the response from the young people about why social enterprise is important for the economy and communities. A young lady called Sylvia, shared this:

http://instagram.com/p/hpm5U8yyRB/

Speaking at TEDx was truly an incredible experience- made even more so by being surrounded by the warm culture. In the knowledge that, although social enterprise has a long way to go yet in Malaysia (Social enterprise is not recognised as a business model as such at present), I feel that the hardest battle we fight is well and truly there in the kindness and eco-system of the culture- which makes me think that there are a large number of social entrepreneurs and enterprises who simply don’t know that’s what they are as yet!

As I’m writing this, I am sitting on the airplane flying out of Kuala Lumpur- and reflecting on this short but valuable journey. What I’ve realised is that Social Enterprise isn’t a job- it isn’t a cold entity. Social enterprise isn’t even a lifestyle as such (like many describe). It’s a culture.

You can’t be a true social entrepreneur, if the only time you’re giving is during the rigid definition of investment of profit. To be a true entrepreneur, you have to be a lover of people, take an interest in why things are the way they are and above all extend the sense of kindness to other aspects of your life. It isn’t something you switch on and off- unlike, perhaps, other jobs.

For now- I want to thank the incredible people who worked so hard to make TEDx KL Women happen (Kakiseni, Women:Girls and colleagues)- and a final mention to the incredibly inspirational women I was honoured to share a stage with last night. Let’s keep flying the flag ladies- the future is female!

Tweet @Melody_Hossaini / @inspirEngage

The 4th Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) was held in Kuala Lumpur on 11th and 12th October 2013 bringing together the world’s leading speakers on entrepreneurship. I was honoured to be there speaking on the 2 days, firstly on developments in youth entrepreneurship and secondly on social enterprise. Here’s my overview blog on outcomes and emerging trends.

Barack Obama at 4th GES

4 years ago, President Barack Obama announced he wanted to hold annual summits with the aim of empowering and connecting entrepreneurs, whilst also developing USA’s relationship with Muslim countries around the world. The annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) was born and 4 summits on, I was honoured to be invited to attend as a speaker, here in Malaysia.

Upon arriving, I got to appreciate the true scale of it! Over 4,700 delegates from across the world, including entrepreneurs, Government officials and organisations flocked to the 2-day event. Barack Obama was due to be opening the ceremony, however a few days before the event, was forced to send his apologies due to the US currently being under lock-down.  Instead, a video message was played. See a short clip here > ‪http://instagram.com/p/fUDYCsSyRw/

Senator John Kerry GES

In his place, Senator John Kerry took to the stage. I had never personally heard him speak previously, and was impressed with his very natural and easy delivery, as well as use of humour (with communications trainer hat on!).  His opening line was amusing; “If only people in Washington were as collaborative as people in this room, we’d all do better!”

Senator Kerry’s points were centred very much on highlighting the need to support the younger generation into business.  “Great seeing so many young people here- your energy- it’s really all in your hands” He went on; “No one is better to talk about innovation than young people. Every step towards progress has always started with young people”.  This is music to my ears as someone who’s spent many years in the youth sector, advocating for young people as champions of positive change.

Senator Kerry also shared a few announcements:

  • Obama’s focus on entrepreneurship will be on young people and ensuring they have access to networks and relevant training as well as mentors. They’ll facilitate a greatest link between the private and the public sector.
  • Obama is going to launch a new research network with World Bank and others, supporting entrepreneurs
  • They’ll be connecting innovators with relevant capital
  • This is the bit I was waiting for, John Kerry stated; “Obama understand that business is so much more than just profit- it’s about making people’s lives better” He continued in his announcement; “We’ll be collaborating with social entrepreneurs to provide joint space for them to work on to tackle leading issues”.

That afternoon, I was a speaker in a panel session entitled ‘Are we there yet’ – referring to the journey of development for young entrepreneurs. My focus was on social enterprise and it was my pleasure to share the incredible advancement in social enterprise being led by young people and women- as well as the relevance of the education sector in supporting the shift occurring. I spoke of and was asked questions about InspirEngage International’s latest programme Social Enterprise Revolution and how we’re embedding this into the curriculum of educational establishments, allowing for students to develop skills as well as make a few quid by improving their communities- as part of their education.

An interesting question posed was how a social entrepreneur can balance commitment to a social cause with the need to run a viable business. With the development of social enterprise- the two are becoming seamlessly linked. The other speakers, included young entrepreneurs in the App-industry as well as Ms Jolene, a 23 year-old articulate young Malaysian spoke about her business in delivering financial education for young people.

One of my highlight speakers was Prof. W Chan Kim, Co-Author of Blue Ocean Strategy- speaking about Blue Ocean Entrepreneurs who align 3 key propositions: value, profit & people. The ‘blue ocean’ refers to the untapped market and the move away from the ‘red ocean’ of competitive approach that only aim services for current consumers. All about changing the way in which entrepreneurs choose their market, in light of the more collaborative world we live in. Very thought-provoking so no wonder Prof. Kim was named one of Forbes most influential thinkers. Another highlight as speaker was owner of Air Asia (and the Asian equivalent of Lord Sugar!) Tony Fernandes.

On the second day, I was a speaker on a panel called ‘Social Entrepreneurs’ – this is really where my passion lies and where I believe the future of business is headed. The panelists, including Mr John Gage- Director of Sun Microsystems and Human Needs Project, spoke passionately making a case for business with a good cause! The audience, unsurprisingly, was made up of mostly young people! St the end, I felt it only right to share the InspirEngage Social Enterprise Anthem! Video: http://instagram.com/p/faXF0eyyeh/

At lunchtime, speakers were invited to a VIP luncheon where Don Tapscott was a speaker. Don Tapscott – CEO of the Tapscott Group. co-author of Wikinomics and co-author of Microwikinomics. One of the world’s leading authorities on innovation, media and the economic and social impact of technology.

Just been announced as Forbe’s most influential business speaker on social media. Shared interesting insight- my highlight being reasons highlighted about how small businesses can now compete and be as powerful as large corporations. In an afternoon meeting with Don, I interviewed him which will be released as a youtube video on my channel: MelodyHChannel.

Over the 2 days, we attended several workshops, including a session on ‘How I made my first million’ which highlighted the importance of responding and adapting to change as well as developing a strong vision and positive attitude.

The recurring theme across most conversations was that there is a strong change in dynamic occurring which truly affects how we do business- the old models simply do not work- the world is more collaborative, social media driven and shifting towards socially responsible business, with young people as priority.

On a personal note, being back in the region (have delivered InspirEngage programmes across East Asia previously) reminded me of how much I enjoy working with such a collaborative, respectful and innovative culture. NEXT GES -It was announced during the closing ceremony that the next GES 2014, is due to be held in Morocco. Until then!

Tweet: @Melody_Hossaini / @InspirEngage

 

As the Education Minister introduces his new plans to make students more employable, we argue why we disagree and where the true value of developing life skills of students to be employable, are.

Secondary pupils returning to school last week faced tougher requirements regarding English and Maths. In simple terms, those who fail to score a grade C or above in their GCSEs must continue to study the subjects to the age of 18. Education Secretary Michael Gove has introduced the new rule to make school leavers more employable.

As a skills trainer of life skills and youth engagement expert with 16 years experience of working with young people- I find this infuriating. Let me start off by saying, yes, I absolutely agree that more needs to be done to develop young people’s employability skills and yes, as a part of that, there needs to, almost always, include an adequate level of English and Maths. No one can argue with that.

But here’s my problem with this new policy. At InspirEngage International, our foundation of belief when delivering the skills Bootcamps to young people, is this: The InspirEngage EthosThere shouldn’t be any one measure of success. Yes, every child needs to do the basics and what’s compulsory, however, not every child or young person is in their element in academia. And to subject them to something which they may feel weaker in and not enjoy, can have more damaging effect than good.

Besides, what is the real meaning of employability skills? I recently spoke to a senior at Ernst & Young who interviews applicants regularly. He tells me; ‘If an applicant sits in front of me, and has nothing interesting to say, doesn’t show charisma, then I won’t employ them. Regardless of their academic achievements’. THAT’s employability skills.

When we deliver the InspirEngage Career Clinics, Life Skills Bootcamps or Startup and Stilettos for girls to develop their confidence- the key objective is to support the individuals to discover who they are and where their strengths and passion lies (through ‘My Passport©’) and then develop pathways into work based on this, in a way that’s personal to them. Life skills are key- knowing how to carry yourself, introduce yourself, feel comfortable and familiar with your USP and where your limits lie. Knowing how to engage with different kinds of people, the process to achieve a task, being able to positively influence people- THESE are life skills which make you EMPLOYABLE.

This week, we’re launching Social Enterprise Revolution (@SocEnt_Rev). Imagine a curriculum that:
1) Developed Life Skills of students
2) Allowed you to use those skills to create a job for yourself
3) Which also helped your local community.

Social Enterprise Revolution is a 1 year programme aimed at schools, colleges and Universities (with a strand off that called Primary Revolution @PrimaryRev, for primary schools) which does exactly that. We’re also aware of several other fantastic programmes that support students to succeed, in a way to achieve the true objective.

The policy to effectively force students to continue a path which may actually just break down their confidence and perhaps act as a blockage to a much more suited path, will have an adverse effect on those students, and frankly in my opinion, it’s an easy short-cut. At the same time, students do need to have those basic skills- we propose that the solution be a 2 line-approach with academia and life skills working hand in hand, making the formal curriculum better connected to the real world, allowing students to use and apply their skills.

Tweet us your thoughts @InspirEngage / @Melody_Hossaini and email: info@inspirEngage.com for all enquiries relating to programmes mentioned and to join to the Revolution!