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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Love,

Melody